A sharply divided United States Supreme Court has voted to allow the southern state of Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have forced more than a third of the state's clinics to stop providing the procedure.
The justices voted 5-4 Tuesday to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 50 kilometers.
The court's conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect.
The four liberal justices dissented.
The Supreme Court stay application only related to the portion of the law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.
The case remains on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. That court is expected to hear arguments in January, and the law will remain in effect at least until then.