A federal judge in Austin is hearing arguments on Texas' new abortion law.  Providers are challenging the requirement forcing clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

State attorneys argue that abortions are more dangerous than providers admit and the requirements would improve care and safety.

“There's no evidence these regulations are about giving women a better standard of care at all,” says Esha Bhandari with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The coalition of providers also is challenging the admitting privileges for clinics in El Paso and McAllen.

“Because they're unable to get privileges, those clinics which served rural populations have now shut down,” Bhandari tells KTRH News.  “Those women are particularly vulnerable and particularly unable to travel hundreds of miles round trip to another clinic.”

The Texas Attorney General's office disputes that claim, arguing receiving optimal care is not an undue burden, and that it would be safer for patients to driver further to receive an abortion at a surgical facility rather than a substandard clinic nearby.