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    Court upholds Texas abortion law

    AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court upheld Texas’s tough abortion restrictions that have forced nearly 20 clinics around the state to close, saying on Thursday the new rules do not jeopardize women’s health.

    A panel of judges at US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans overturned a lower court judge who said the rules violate the US Constitution and served no medical purpose.

    Despite the lower court ruling, the appeals court already had allowed some rules to go into effect while it considered the case.

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    The latest decision means more regulations will begin later this year,and sets up a likely appeal to the Supreme Court.

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    In its opinion, the appeals court said the law ‘‘on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.’’

    Planned Parenthood, which sued to block the law, called the ruling ‘‘terrible.’’