TEXAS (FOX 26) - When conservative Texas lawmakers pushed through strict new regulations for abortion providers they insisted the measure was solely to safeguard the health of women.
Pro-choice forces countered, claiming the true intent was to make ending a pregnancy so difficult many women would give birth instead of aborting.
"Women were having to travel literally hundreds of miles each way to access safe and legal abortion because of this law," said Rochelle Tafolla, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.
And by a 5 to 3 vote the U.S. Supreme Court decided that's a burden Texas women shouldn't have to bear.
"It was clear when they passed it that they were they were not trying to protect women's health. They were trying to end access to abortion," said Tafolla.
The High Court's majority found that requiring abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers by doctors with hospital admitting privileges offered insufficient medical benefits and denied women access by triggering the shutdown of half the state's providers.
Hours after the decision Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued a heated objection.
"It doesn't matter what you are in the hospital for or in a clinic for, you should have the ultimate safety standards. We are not a third world country, but the Supreme Court leftists apparently don't understand that," said Patrick.
Both sides agree the number of abortions in Texas plummeted while the law was in effect.
Without apology, Patrick says that's a good thing.
"That's 20,000 more children who are alive today. And this Supreme Court wants to turn that back," said Patrick.
Patrick says Texas lawmakers will re-visit the issue - and anti -abortion strategists predict the focus will be shifting.
"I think what you are going to see moving forward are a lot of laws centered around whether we are actually ending a life and whether that's okay? It's not," said Emily Horne of Texas Right to Life.
While elated by the decision, Planned Parenthood's Tafolla says it's still uncertain how many of the abortion providers forced to close their doors will have the resources and desire to re-open.