AUSTIN - Part of Texas's tough abortion law is facing a test before a federal judge this week.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel will hear arguments starting Monday about a provision of the law requiring abortion providers to meet standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
That provision is set to take effect Sept. 1.
It requires facilities to have accommodations such as larger operating rooms and a sterile ventilation system.
Lawyers with the state Attorney General's office will argue the requirement helps regulate medical standards and protect women by providing better care.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, led by Whole Women's Health, say the law will place a burden on women who hope to obtain a legal abortion by greatly reducing the number of clinics statewide.
If the requirement takes effect, it's likely 18 clinics across the state will be forced to close. There are seven remaining that do meet the ambulatory surgical center mandate. An eighth is being built.
Hearings in the case are expected to last four days. The timeline for the judge's ruling is unclear.