Abortion rights advocates protest HB2 from the area outside of the Senate Chamber as anti-abortion rights supporters pass them in the State Capitol in Austin, Texas on Friday night, July 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

Federal judge rules controversial Texas abortion law unconstitutional

In a move described as ‘stunning‘, a federal judge Monday ruled that strict abortion restrictions authorized by Texas lawmakers in July are unconstitutional, and will not be implemented as scheduled on Tuesday, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

The decision comes four months after Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, now a candidate for governor, staged a dramatic 13-hour filibuster against the proposed restrictions.

The filibuster forced Gov. Rick Perry to order a second special legislative session for the Republican-dominated Legislature to pass the controversial law.

“I’m grateful that a Texas court agreed today that House Bill 2 would have had harmful effects on women’s access to care and affirmed that the Republican-controlled Legislature went too far in its attacks on women,” said Texas state senator Leticia Van de Putte, an outspoken critic of the abortion restrictions.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought the lawsuit, arguing that a requirement that doctors need to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic would force the closure of a third of the clinics in Texas. The groups also argued that requiring doctors to follow the Food and Drug Administration’s original label for an abortion-inducing drug would deny women the benefit of recent advances in medical science.

Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, said “As is often the case, these misguided restrictions would have disproportionately hurt the health of Latinas and women of color, who already face too many barriers to care.  Overall, today’s ruling is a win for Latina health.”

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel decided Monday that the regulations impeded on the rights of abortion physicians to do what they judge is best for their patients and would unreasonably limit a woman’s access to state abortion clinics.

Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement following today’s ruling, which said, “Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”

Sen. Wendy Davis also issued a statement, which read, “Texas families are stronger and healthier when women across the state have access to quality healthcare. I’m not surprised by the judge’s ruling. As a mother, I would rather see our tax dollars spent on improving our kid’s schools rather than defending this law.”

NBC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

RELATED: WATCH -Latina state Senator fights Texas abortion bill: “This is about women’s health”

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