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FILE - In this July 15, 2013 file photo, two signs that read "Who Lobbied For This?" and "We Need Healthcare Options, Not Obstacles" are held by attendees of a rally in front of Dallas city hall where a group of nearly 200 gathered to protest the approval of sweeping new restrictions on abortion in Texas. A U.S. appeals court on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, issued a ruling reinstating most of Texas' tough new abortion restrictions, which means as many as 12 clinics will not be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Texas abortion debate

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that most of Texas' tough new abortion restrictions can take effect immediately — a decision that means a third of the state's clinics that perform the procedure won't be able to do so starting as soon as Friday.

A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling three days after District Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision serves no medical purpose. (AP)