The 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans and considered one of the most conservative panels in the nation, allowed Texas to enforce the restrictions when abortion providers first sued in 2013. But the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the law last year.
Texas currently has about 17 abortion providers — down from 40 clinics in 2012. That sharp decline began after the 5th Circuit upheld another part of the 2013 law that required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Under the new restrictions, the only remaining abortion facilities in Texas will likely be in major cities. One exception would be in McAllen, near the Texas-Mexico border, which the 5th Circuit exempted from some restrictions.
But for women in El Paso, getting an abortion will now require a 1,200-mile round trip to San Antonio or going to New Mexico.
Attorneys for the state dismissed opponents' arguments that women would be burdened by a reduction in abortion facilities, saying that nearly 9 in 10 women in Texas would still live within 150 miles of a provider.
A new slate of conservative leaders in Texas has vowed to continue stifling abortion-rights efforts. George P. Bush, the son of expected 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and a nephew of former President George W. Bush, made an anti-abortion rally at the Capitol his first public event since being sworn in as land commissioner, along with Abbott's wife, Cecilia Abbott.
Abortion-rights supporters are expected to appeal the circuit court decision to the Supreme Court.
The Associated Press