Texas officials Monday asked an appellate court to revive a state requirement that abortion doctors affiliate with local hospitals by overturning a federal judge's finding that the measure isn't medically necessary and places an unconstitutional burden on women seeking to end pregnancies.
"The sole question to ask is whether the obstacle imposed is substantial," Jonathan Mitchell, Texas solicitor general, told the appellate court Monday. The rule doesn't bar women from seeking abortions, he said.
The state was allowed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans to enforce the requirement while it appeals the lower- court ruling, spurring some clinics to stop abortions and sending doctors scurrying to acquire credentials from nearby hospitals. Abortion rights advocates asked the appeals court Monday to uphold the lower court and immediately overturn the hospital affiliation mandate.