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US judge halts key part of Texas abortion law

AUSTIN, Texas--A U.S. judge Friday threw out new abortion restrictions that would have effectively banned the procedure at most facilities in Texas, the latest battleground in the ongoing battle over the divisive issue.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new restrictions that would have essentially closed more than a dozen clinics, leaving seven abortion facilities in Texas by Sept. 1, according to groups challenging the law.

Abortion has been a much-debated issue in the U.S. in the decades since the Supreme Court affirmed a right to the procedure, and several states have tried to chip away at access under a variety of laws and proposed laws.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is the favorite to become governor next year, vowed to seek an immediate appeal to try to preserve the new clinic rules.

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