Today’s SCOTUS Decision a Victory for Reproductive Health Advocates

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Even missing one member of the Supreme Court, justices voted 5-3 that some of Texas’ abortions restrictions placed an “undue burden” on a women’s right to access an abortion pre-viability and therefore violate the United States Constitution.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote “It is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women . . ”

Struck down were the following two provisions: (1) requiring clinics to meet the standards of a hospital operating room; and (2) requiring doctors to have hospital admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away.

The new laws would’ve left nearly 2 million women without access to a clinic for more than 50 miles from their residence and another almost 2 million would have had to drive between 100-200 miles to access a clinic. The court said the laws were unsustainable.

Left intact were two other provisions that prohibit abortions after 20 weeks (which Indiana also has, except in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy), and restrictions on abortions performed non-surgically.

Indiana faces its own set of new abortion laws, that is currently being challenged by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood of IN and KY, as well as Indiana University. Indiana’s law would prohibit a woman from having an abortion due a diagnosed or “possible” birth defect. It would also require a woman who miscarries or aborts a fetus in a facility to bury or cremate the remains and obtain a burial permit.

Jane Henegar said of Indiana’s restrictions:

“The ACLU stands firmly against discrimination in all forms, but that isn’t what this law is about,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. “Unnecessary restrictions, like those recently signed into law, demean women and threaten the quality of their health care. The ACLU of Indiana will continue to work to ensure that every woman can make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to continue a pregnancy without undue political interference.

Indiana’s law additionally prohibits the use of aborted or miscarried remains from being used for medical research. IU currently conducts research on fetal tissue in an effort to understand birth defects, Alzheimer’s and other neurological illnesses. IU is suing separately claiming the prohibition on research is also illegal and would be catastrophic.

Indiana’s laws will take effect July 1st, unless Federal District Judge Tonya Walton Pratt grants an injunction until the case can be litigated in its entirety.

Read about today’s Supreme Court decision.

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