In one of the most important decisions of the decade, the Supreme Court has struck down Texas’ unfair abortion law. The restrictive law would have closed 75 percent of the state’s abortion clinics, taking the number available from 40 down to 10 and making it unduly difficult for a woman to obtain her constitutional right to an abortion.
Texas’ law was an attempt to erode the Roe v. Wade law. Justice Breyer wrote:
‘We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.’
‘Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.’
Roe v. Wade was put into place in 1973, saying a woman has a right to an abortion. In other words, she has the right to control her body and her health. Since then, states have worked to weasel out of the law.
The ruling today says states cannot place undue burdens on women to receive abortions before fetal viability. Undue burdens include:
‘Unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.’
Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan agreed with the decision.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. were against it.
The Texas law was signed by former Republican governor Rick Perry. Two parts of that law were unfair to women. The first part said that all clinics had to have ambulatory surgical centers and regulations concerning buildings, equipment, and staffing.
The other part required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a close hospital. Both requirements are unfair because other procedures, such as colonoscopies, do not have to comply with those rules. Justice Breyer wrote about the decision:
‘The requirement of admitting privileges cannot be taken seriously as a measure to improve women’s health, because the transfer agreements that abortion clinics make with hospitals, plus the ability to summon an ambulance by a phone call, assure the access of such women to a nearby hospital in the event of a medical emergency.’
Anti-abortion officials said the Texas law was needed to protect a woman’s health, but abortion providers said it was “too expensive, unnecessary and intended to put many of them out of business.”
This is a resounding win for women across the country!
H/T: New York Times.