The Supreme Court just struck down controversial Texas abortion regulations
The Supreme Court just determined that a wildly controversial Texas bill placed “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion, deeming it unconstitutional, the AP reported.
Justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which is the court’s biggest abortion case since 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey (you can read up on the history of all that over here).
The bill that was struck down, HB2, had two main components that made obtaining an abortion extremely difficult. First, it required that “doctors who provide abortion services must obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals no farther than 30 miles away from the clinic” and second, that “every health care facility offering abortion care must meet building specifications to essentially become mini-hospitals (also known as ambulatory surgical centers, or ASCs),” according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
After these restrictions were put into place, the number of clinics in Texas dropped from 40 to 19 as of October 2015, and that number was expected to keep getting smaller, meaning that Texas had up to 500 miles without clinics. Due to the limited access to clinics, those seeking an abortion who couldn’t afford to take time off work, travel, and stay overnight somewhere where they can legally and safely obtain an abortion had to resort to other (illegal and dangerous) methods to terminate their pregnancy.
While Texas argued that this law was necessary for protecting women’s health, SCOTUS saw it differently, ruling that:
Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan ruled the law unconstitutional while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.