Soon, the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the most significant reproductive rights case in decades. The ruling is expected either today, June 20 or next Monday, June 27.
About Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt: On March 2, the Supreme Court justices heard arguments regarding two provisions of HB2, a Texas law that, under the guise of improving women’s health, is designed to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion services. Since the law was passed in 2013, at least 22 of 41 clinics in Texas have been forced to close their doors.
In reviewing the provisions of HB2, the justices are finally considering 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?
The Women’s Law Project submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of ten abortion providers in Pennsylvania. 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 WLP Senior Staff Attorney Susan Frietsche and former staff attorney Tara R. Pfeifer as co-counsel on the brief.
The perspective of Pennsylvania abortion providers and their legal counsel is acutely relevant to the case, because Texas officials have attempted to justify the provisions in question by distorting the facts of the Kermit Gosnell case, the rogue doctor from Philadelphia who was convicted of three counts of murder and hundreds of other violations of Pennsylvania’s criminal laws in 2013.
Frietsche, Cohen and Pfeifer refuted the argument made by Texas officials in “Preventing the Next Gosnell,” an article published at Slate.com.
Susan Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney at the Western Philadelphia office of the Women’s Law Project, will be available for comment after the ruling.
Frietsche is counsel to abortion providers in Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she teaches a course called “Reproduction, Sexuality and the Law.”
To request an interview with Sue Frietsche, contact Tara Murtha at 215-928-5762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.