U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Sham Abortion Bans


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’s admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center regulations in a 5-3 decision written by Justice Stephen Breyer. This is a great victory for Whole Woman’s Health, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the women of Texas and everyone who participated in this historic case.

From the New York Times:

“We conclude,” Justice Breyer wrote, “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.”

“The Court has affirmed what we already knew,” said Sue Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Law Project. “Strategically over-regulating healthcare facilities that provide abortion care so that they are forced to close does nothing to protect women’s health, despite the disingenuous claims of anti-abortion lawmakers, in Texas and here in Pennsylvania.”

Indeed, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her concurrence that it is “beyond rational belief” that such restrictions could genuinely protect the health of women, and that HB2 “would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.”

The facts show these sham restrictions are, in fact, harmful to women’s health. Citing an argument made in the amicus brief filed by the Women’s Law Project and Women’s Law Project board members Thomas E. Zemaitis, an attorney with the Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, and David S. Cohen, a professor of law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University on behalf of ten abortion providers in Pennsylvania, Justice Ginsburg wrote, “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”

Today’s decision casts an even more negative light on the recent efforts by Pennsylvania Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) and Senator Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Erie/Mercer/Warren) to criminalize the safest and most widely accepted method of post-first-trimester abortion.

“These mean-spirited, misguided attacks on women’s health are plainly unconstitutional and they need to stop,” said Frietsche.

To request an interview, contact Tara Murtha at 215-928-5762 or tmurtha@womenslawproject.org.

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2 Responses to U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Sham Abortion Bans

  1. Pingback: Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on HB1948 | Women's Law Project Blog

  2. It is good to see that a decision has been reached on this issue by the US Supreme Court. However, I anticipate that other States will likely continue the battle on different grounds making this an issue that will not fade away without a fight. Looking forward to see what the future holds for women’s abortion rights.

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