What the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against Texas' sweeping anti-abortion law means.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 on Monday that Texas’ sweeping anti-abortion law is unconstitutional. Here are details about the ruling and the law, known as HB2:
‘BEYOND RATIONAL BELIEF’ THAT TEXAS LAW PROTECTED WOMEN’S HEALTH
So wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who added in a concurring opinion that women “may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners” when states limit access to abortion. She was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his dissent that the court has now tossed laws that “could not plausibly impose an undue burden.” Joining him in opposition was Chief Justice John Roberts and Clarence Thomas.
SIMILAR LAWS REMAIN ELSEWHERE
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The Texas law required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery. At least nine other states have similar admitting-privileges requirements, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the decision erodes states’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health of women.
THE NUMBER OF TEXAS ABORTION CLINICS HAS ALREADY PLUMMETED
More than 40 abortion clinics were open in Texas in January 2013, when then-Gov. Rick Perry began his final legislative session by expressing a wish “to make abortion at any stage a thing of the past.” Ten months later, at least a dozen clinics were forced to close under one provision of HB2, and others shuttered as the legal fight dragged to the Supreme Court. About 19 clinics remained opened before Monday’s ruling.
TEXAS ABORTION CLINICS WON’T REOPEN IMMEDIATELY
Whole Woman’s Health founder Amy Hagstrom Miller, who operates a chain of abortion clinics in Texas, said following the ruling that “clinics don’t reopen overnight” and cautioned there was a “daunting task ahead of us” about whether shuttered clinics would reopen. Many operators let go of building leases and their staffs, and Texas women in many rural areas still face hours-long drives to the nearest abortion providers.
REPUBLICANS HAVE KEPT PRESSURE ON ABORTION PROVIDERS
Republican-controlled statehouses across the U.S. didn’t stop pursuing new abortion restrictions while waiting for a Texas ruling. In May, South Carolina outlawed most abortions at 20 weeks beyond fertilization, and Oklahoma’s legislature approved a measure this year that would have made it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed that measure, saying it would not withstand a legal challenge.
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