A law responsible for already shutting down half of Texas’s abortion clinics was overturned by the Supreme Court on Monday. The Republican-backed law, passed in 2013 and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, placed strict requirements on abortion clinics. The Supreme Court ruling is a victory for abortion rights supporters. Had the ruling stood, only 10 abortion clinics would have remained open in a state with 30 million people.
Unable to overturn Roe v. Wade at the federal level, Republican state legislatures and governors in recent years have sought to restrict access to local abortion clinics.
As NPR reported about this specific case:
“First, it requires that all doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion takes place. But because the complication rate from abortions is so minuscule, most abortion providers cannot meet the minimum number of admittances that hospitals require before granting privileges.
"Second, the law requires that abortion clinics be retrofitted to meet elaborate statutory hospital-grade standards, including wide corridors, large rooms and other expensive construction and equipment standards that do not apply to all other outpatient facilities where other surgical procedures like liposuction and colonoscopies take place.
"The provisions also apply to doctors who prescribe medication-induced abortions; such procedures involve giving the patient two pills and sending her home.”
The guise under which Texas added these regulations was women’s health. The Supreme Court called bullshit.
Liberal Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion and was joined by swing voter Anthony M. Kennedy and liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.
“We conclude,” Justice Breyer wrote, “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.”
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