Abortion providers in Pennsylvania, where women suffered under Gosnell’s hand, have a particular responsibility to speak out against these schemes.
PENNSYLVANIA — Soon, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear the most important case regarding reproductive rights in more than twenty years. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the justices will review two provisions of HB2, a Texas law designed to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion services under the guise of improving women’s health. In doing so, they will answer the question reproductive rights advocates have been asking for the last several years: If the Constitution protects the right to abortion, how can our courts uphold laws that close down safe abortion providers and thereby deny many women access to care?
“Advocates of reproductive rights are pleased that the Supreme Court finally has an opportunity to address this public health crisis and moral outrage,” said Sue Frietsche, senior staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project and counsel of record in a friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of ten abortion providers in Pennsylvania in support of the petitioners in the Texas case. “Regulations like those enacted through HB2 in Texas are a sham, passed against the recommendation of medical professionals. Activist lawmakers know this, but don’t care. They only care about depriving poor American women of their constitutional right to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion.”
Two Women’s Law Project board members–Thomas E. Zemaitis, a partner with the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, and David S. Cohen, law professor at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law—joined Frietsche and Women’s Law Project staff attorney Tara R. Pfeifer as co-counsel on the brief.
Abortion providers in Pennsylvania, where women suffered under Gosnell’s hand, have a particular responsibility to speak out against these schemes. The amici curiae brief, filed in the Supreme Court of the United States, specifically refutes the main justification Texas lawmakers have used to support the Texas regulatory scheme: that such a scheme will stop the next Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell is the infamous Philadelphia criminal arrested in 2010 and subsequently convicted of murder, involuntarily manslaughter, drug trafficking and a host of other crimes. Since his conviction, the suffering of his victims—mostly poor women of color from the Philadelphia area—has been shamefully exploited by lawmakers who distort the Gosnell case to justify regulatory schemes designed to deprive poor women of both their constitutional rights and their inherent human right to bodily sovereignty.
From the brief: “Far from protecting women’s health and safety, the Texas regulations heavily burden high-quality providers without medical justification, and thereby threaten to drive patients to medically-unsupervised home remedies or to criminals, like Kermit Gosnell, who endanger women’s lives.”
Reproductive rights activists support medically-appropriate health regulation. However, most of the hundreds of regulations proposed in the last several years are fraudulent, the result of a coordinated campaign of strategic over-regulation designed to shut down clinics until only the wealthy can afford to exercise their constitutional right to abortion.
This case will determine the future of reproductive rights in the United States. Oral arguments have been scheduled for March 2.
To request more information on this case, an interview with Senior Staff Attorney Sue Frietsche or a copy of the brief, contact Tara Murtha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to the rights of women and girls.