JUNE 27, 2016
Today is a victory for American women. In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court has found state laws which needlessly restrict abortion providers to be unconstitutional in their ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade was clear: women have a constitutionally protected right to choose abortion. This decision was upheld in 1992 by the Supreme Court decision with Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which found that states could not pose an undue burden in access to abortion care. Today’s decision is an equally significant milestone for reproductive justice.
Janine Hill, Executive Director at EverThrive Illinois applauds this decision: “EverThrive IL has long been committed to ensuring that every pregnancy is healthy and that every baby has the best possible start in life. Access to safe, legal, and affordable abortion care is crucial for achieving optimal birth outcomes for all women and babies in Illinois.”
The battle for Texas abortion clinics to stay open began in the summer of 2013 with the passing of House Bill 2 (HB2) - one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. This law required Texas doctors to have admitting privileges to full-scale hospitals within thirty miles of the abortion clinic and required each abortion clinic to meet the classification of a surgical center. These restrictions are medically unnecessary, but seek to make it impossible for women to receive this crucial health service.
The implementation of HB2’s politically motivated regulations carried out their designed effect: since 2013, 75% of abortion clinics in Texas have closed.1 Today’s ruling is a victory for the 60,000 women who seek abortions annually in Texas, the estimated 5.4 million women in Texas of reproductive age2, and 61 million American women of reproductive age.
This Supreme Court’s ruling has national implications. Illinois is one of 44 states that have burdensome restrictions on abortion clinics which are not imposed on other medical professionals.3 The Supreme Court’s ruling keeps the deeply personal decision to seek an abortion between a woman and her doctor, rather than leaving it in the hands of state legislatures.
The Supreme Court’s Whole Women’s Health decision is a victory for women and their families. EverThrive IL remains committed to working with decision makers to ensure women and men continue to have access to the full range of reproductive health care.
1 Whole Woman's Health (n.d.) Whole Women’s Health Vs. Hellerstedt. Retrieved from: http://wholewomanshealth.com/about-us/whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt.html
2 Denniston, L. (2015) Court to rule on abortion clinic restrictions. SCOTUS Blog: Supreme Court of the United States Blog. Retrieved from: http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/11/court-to-rule-on-abortion-clinic-restrictions/
3 NARAL: Pro-choice America (2016). Targeted regulation of abortion providers (trap). Retrieved from: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/what-is-choice/fast-facts/issues-trap.html