"If the injunction is lifted, literally thousands of women in Texas will no longer be able to access abortions," she said. "That's a huge harm, and there is no interest on behalf of the state that justifies denying the constitutional rights of all of those women."
Abbott asked the 5th Circuit to expedite the appeals process, but the soonest the court could consider the case is January.
As part of the ruling Monday, Yeakel, a Bush appointee, also found the Texas Legislature could dictate how doctors administer abortion-inducing drugs. However, he blocked a new drug requirement because he said it failed to allow doctors to adjust treatment in order to best protect the health of women taking it.
Planned Parenthood and the other abortion providers who filed suit did not challenge a ban on abortion 20 weeks into a pregnancy, a provision that took effect Tuesday, and a requirement starting next October that all abortions must be performed in a surgical center.
A handful of protesters gathered Tuesday morning near the Whole Woman's Health Clinic in McAllen, on the Mexico border.
Herb Moering said he has been protesting at the clinic twice a week for four or five years. Until Monday's ruling, he thought his days on the downtown street corner might be coming to an end. The 77-year-old complained of "liberal" judges.
Moering said he'll be there "as long as women come and think their best option is abortion."
If the two clinics providing abortions in the Rio Grande Valley were forced to close, women living along the Texas-Mexico border would have to travel nearly 250 miles to San Antonio.
Some women in West Texas would have to travel even farther — about 300 miles to Waco or El Paso — should the sole abortion clinic in Lubbock be forced to close.
Beth Shapiro, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood Health Center in Lubbock, said she fears women in need of abortion will resort to illegal and unsafe methods if the clinic is forced to stop providing abortions.
"I think it's always a possibility that when we limit access to abortion we are going to go back," she said. "People will resort to pre-Roe v. Wade strategies to perform abortion — back alley procedures, which are far more dangerous than having a safe, legal abortion, a medically controlled abortion."
Associated Press correspondents Christopher Sherman in McAllen and Betsy Blaney in Lubbock contributed to this report.
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