AUSTIN, Texas -

A federal judge has thrown out new abortion restrictions that would have banned the procedure at most Texas facilities where women can legally end a pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Friday sided with abortion clinics that challenged one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2013.

The law would have required the clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards by Sept. 1. That would have left seven places for women to get an abortion in Texas, down from the 19 facilities that abortion-rights groups say are currently available.

The lawsuit was the latest challenge to tough new anti-abortion laws sweeping across the U.S.

The state is expected to appeal.