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Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Texas can ban the most common procedure used by doctors for abortions in second-trimester pregnancies, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Why it matters: The ruling in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the first time a U.S. federal court has upheld a ban on dilation and evacuation, the standard method of abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ban is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court, per the Texas Tribune.

  • Texas would be the first state in the U.S. to impose such a ban on the D&E method if it is permitted to proceed.

Driving the news: The ruling overturns a decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit last October, which sided with abortion rights advocates in backing a 2017 lower court decision to strike down the Texas law as unconstitutional, temporarily blocking its enforcement.

  • "Under the newly reinstated law, D&E abortions are forbidden unless the physician first performs a separate, additional procedure in the woman's body to bring about the demise of the fetus," Reuters notes.

What they're saying: Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman's Health and a plaintiff in the case, said in an emailed statement that the ban is "about cutting off abortion access, and nothing else."

  • "It should never be a crime for doctors to use their best medical judgment and follow the most current science. Texans deserve the best care available, and this law prevents that," Hagstrom Miller added.

Of note: Another law that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law in May that bans abortions as early as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant is due to take effect on Sept. 1.

  • This too is being challenged in court.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

Civil rights groups sue Oklahoma over law banning critical race theory

The Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Photo: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A group of civil rights organizations is suing Oklahoma over a law that restricts discussion of race and gender in public schools.

Why it matters: The law is one of several Republican-led attempts to ban critical race theory (CRT), a concept that links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system.