While some Texans are busy fearing an Ebola outbreak, others are out celebrating/cursing the latest Supreme Court decision which has blocked vital components of the strict antiabortion laws enacted in Texas last year by Gov. Rick Perry.
The Texas law, which Rick Perry and his fellow Lone Star conservatives say is designed to protect women’s health, required all abortion clinics in the state be “ambulatory surgical centers,” regulated under the same standards as hospitals and forced doctors performing abortions to first obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The new restrictions effectively shut down all but eight abortion clinics throughout the state – which are all clustered in metropolitan regions in the eastern part of Texas. And by abortion clinics, I mean family planning clinics, which provide a multitude of services to women who otherwise cannot afford them, of which abortions are only one part.
But now, in a 6-3 ruling (Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opposed, obvs), the Supreme Court has ordered Texas not to enforce parts the law – at least until more appeals can be filed on the larger questions of the Texas law’s constitutionality. The Supreme Court blocked the surgical-center requirement entirely and the admitting-privileges requirement as it applied to clinics in McAllen and El Paso.
“The U.S. Supreme Court gave Texas women a tremendous victory today,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Tomorrow, 13 clinics across the state will be allowed to reopen and provide women with safe and legal abortion care in their own communities.”
“This fight against Texas’ sham abortion law is not over. HB2 was designed to gut the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade and half of the state’s clinics remain closed,” she added.
“We’re seeing the terrible impact these restrictions have on thousands of Texas women who effectively no longer have access to safe and legal abortion,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We’re relieved that the court stepped in to stop this, and we hope this dangerous law is ultimately overturned completely.”
Although it’s only temporary, Tuesday’s ruling could lead to access by the millions of women unable to reach the major cities where the few remaining facilities are still open.
But the court’s ruling won’t stop Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is the favorite in next month’s governor’s race, from defending Rick Perry’s restrictive abortion bill to the death – because it’s not like there are more pressing medical crises happening in Texas right now…