By Barbara Starr
(CNN) – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear Texas’ controversial new anti-abortion law.
The high court is taking up a case that focuses on what an abortion law’s limits on when a woman can have an abortion actually mean.
In Texas, the state’s Republican governor signed the legislation in 2013, which requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If they don’t, they must refer women to another physician for care.
The law has been in effect in parts of Texas since 2013. A lower court allowed parts of the law to take effect, but banned the requirement that abortion clinics meet hospital-like standards.
Women’s rights groups challenging the law said it resulted in the shutdown of 38 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, leaving women in Texas without comprehensive abortion services.
“Texas women will be better off without the law, and we can’t let it take that away from us,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The case will be heard this fall, and a decision is expected by the end of June.
Tuesday’s action means that at least eight of the nine justices will hear arguments in the case. Justice Elena Kagan will likely recuse herself, as she formerly served as Solicitor General in the Obama administration. Kagan worked on the case for several months while working for the Obama administration, but wrote the dissent in the lower court ruling.
Texas has strong Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature. Texas is also represented by a Republican in the US Senate.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, said the decision would put to rest the issue of abortion in Texas.
“Today’s Supreme Court action takes the nation one step closer to vindicating the right to life that Texans and many other Americans hold so dear,” McConnell said.