SCOTUS struck down Texas’ strict law regarding abortion in a 5-3 decision on Monday, according to NBC News. The decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt means a lower court’s decision to uphold the law has been reversed.
Pro-choice advocates say that if the ruling passed, it would cause most of the state’s abortion clinics to shutter. Since the law known as HB2 passed, clinics offering abortion services in the state dropped to 19 from 42. Those who rallied against, said that number would fall to 10 if the Supreme Court did not reverse HB2.
The law in question required abortion clinics in Texas to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, necessitated abortion clinics to be located within 30 miles of a hospital, and mandated that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at said hospitals.
According to The Daily Beast:
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law does not place an “undue burden” on women’s reproductive rights because the state has proved it has a compelling interest in regulating clinics to protect women’s health. The Court disagreed. The stringent requirements would have the effect of closing most abortion providers in Texas. Several other states including neighboring Louisiana sought to enact similar laws.
In his opinion, Justice Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, saying:
“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.”
NBC News reports:
The court’s decision will affect similar laws in twelve other states, some now on hold because of court challenges. The restrictions in Texas represented a new front in efforts to restrict abortion by focusing on protecting the health and safety of the mother rather than the life of the fetus.
At the heart of the case was the standard for assessing abortion limits first announced by the Supreme Court in 1992. State laws cannot create an “undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus attains viability, it said then.
The CDC’s 2012 Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report shows, “among the 27 areas that reported cross-classified race/ethnicity data for 2012, non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic black women accounted for the largest percentages of abortions (37.6% and 36.7%, respectively), and Hispanic women and non-Hispanic women in the other race category accounted for smaller percentages (18.7% and 7.0%, respectively). Non-Hispanic white women had the lowest abortion rate (7.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) and ratio (127 abortions per 1,000 live births), and non-Hispanic black women had the highest abortion rate (27.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) and ratio (435 abortions per 1,000 live births).”
In 2012, 17,001 Black women received abortions in the state of Texas, amounting to 25.2 percent statewide, according to the MMWR report.