June 17, 2015


TEXAS: "The Fifth Circuit Just Stuck a Knife in Roe v. Wade," Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a restrictive Texas antiabortion-rights law (HB 2) that "that will shut down most of the state's abortion clinics" also "would give many other states broad discretion to restrict access to abortion if its reasoning is ultimately adopted by the Supreme Court," Millhiser writes. He explains that the 5th Circuit opinion "could effectively render what remains of Roe v. Wade a dead letter, at least in the context of facial legal challenges," because it interprets the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart so as to prevent "future plaintiffs' ability to challenge abortion bans disguised as sham health laws." Specifically, the appeals court held that "'medical uncertainty underlying a statute is for resolution by legislatures, not the courts,' even when a sham health law such as HB2 is challenged," Millhiser writes. Noting the law likely will be appealed to the Supreme Court, Millhiser writes that "the fate of the law will likely rest with the author of Gonzales v. Carhart, Justice Anthony Kennedy" (Millhiser, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/9).

What others are saying about Texas:

~ "Texas Abortion Providers Set Their Sights on the Supreme Court," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.


CRIMINALIZING PREGNANCY: "Women Are Being Arrested and Jailed for Self-Abortion," Michelle Goldberg, The Nation: Goldberg discusses a growing pattern in which pregnant women are being arrested and criminally charged for trying to perform their own abortions, a trend that she notes will "only ... get worse ... as more and more clinics close and more anti-abortion laws are passed." For example, she writes that Kenlissa Jones, a "23-year-old Georgia woman," was charged with murder earlier this week after she allegedly consumed a drug purchased online to end her pregnancy. Goldberg notes that although the charge was later dropped -- Jones "is still being charged with possession of a dangerous drug" -- the case is similar to others, such as Purvi Patel and a case in Arkansas in which a woman was attempting her own abortion using drugs obtained from a nurse. "With abortion access being severely and inexorably eroded all over the country, it has become clear that black-market abortion drugs are the modern version of the old back-alley procedures," she writes. However, she notes that, unlike the situation prior to Roe v. Wade, "police and prosecutors who'd emerged from the anti-abortion movement" are "eager to treat" abortion as murder (Goldberg, The Nation, 6/10).