June 28, 2016


"The Supreme Court exposed the anti-abortion sham of 'protecting women's health,'" Christina Cauterucci, Slate 's "XX Factor": "The Supreme Court struck down two Texas restrictions on abortion providers in a landmark case on Monday, offering the strongest affirmation of the constitutional right to safe, legal, accessible abortion since Roe v. Wade," Cauterucci writes. She adds, "Justice Stephen Breyer's majority opinion in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is an unequivocal rejection of the mistruths at the heart of a fast-spreading rash of state abortion restrictions that shut down abortion clinics under the guise of protecting women's health." Cauterucci explains that the majority ruling exposed "every hypocrisy and self-contradicting argument" behind the state's claims that HB 2's admitting privileges requirement and ambulatory surgical center building requirement "were necessary to prevent abortion-related complications." She notes, "Breyer went beyond the undue burden finding to knock down the very justification of these laws, proving that the thin pretext of keeping women safe was a sham." According to Cauterucci, "the best part of Breyer's opinion is his contention that the undue burden HB2 placed on women's access to abortion actually negated any spurious health benefit a woman might gain from a provider's admitting privileges or a clinic's surgical-center qualifications." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's concurring opinion, Cauterucci writes, further confirms the high court's ruling that "the undue burden Texas created would cause unsafe, illegal abortions rather than curb the practice at all, a prediction that has already been borne out by research in Texas and around the world." She continues, "In an era marked by the rise of lawmakers who prioritize political games over facts when it comes to reproductive health, it's reassuring to see the court strike such a decisive blow against sham laws based on lies," concluding, "It's a major political win for the reproductive justice movement, but more importantly, it's a strong safeguard for the quality and autonomy of future women's lives" (Cauterucci, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/27).

What others are saying about Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt :

~ "Supreme Court's Texas decision is the greatest victory for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade," Samantha Allen, Daily Beast.

~ "The decision overturning Texas' abortion law will have a dramatic impact across the country," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "How you can help Texas abortion clinics right now, because SCOTUS' ruling doesn't mean the battle's over," Chris Tognotti, Bustle.



"Hell for abortion providers," Olga Khazan, The Atlantic: Following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down two provisions in Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2), Khazan speaks to two former Planned Parenthood staffers, Karen Hildebrand and Carla Holeva, about the obstacles that shut down clinics in Odessa and Midland that were "struggling to s[t]ay open long before HB2 ... went into effect." According to Khazan, two clinics, as well as "80 other family-planning clinics in the state," shut down following Texas' decision to cut "public funding for any group associated with an abortion provider in 2011." Khazan writes that the experience of Hildebrand, former CEO of Planned Parenthood of West Texas, and Holeva, who worked in community affairs for Planned Parenthood, "helps explain how lawmakers across the country have been able to pass so many abortion restrictions in recent years," pointing to the "myriad legal, financial, and cultural obstacles they faced -- many of which are still the reality for abortion providers in Texas and elsewhere." For example, Khazan notes that Hildebrand and Holeva faced near-constant threats and harassment from abortion-rights opponents, protesters targeted patients at the clinic and sometimes even sent mail to their homes, and state restrictions on abortion care required Planned Parenthood staff to provide incomplete information about abortion care to "women covered by certain government programs," such as Title X. Khazan writes that following the two clinics' closures, "Midland women [now] live five hours from the nearest abortion provider," and "thousands of patients scrambled to squeeze into the remaining low-income health clinics in the area," spurring long waitlists for care. Khazan concludes by quoting Hildebrand and Holeva on their decision to work in an area "where so many antagonized them for so long," noting that both cited their motivation being the gratitude of patients and the "unshakable conviction that women have the right to an abortion" (Khazan, The Atlantic, 6/27).