Today the Supreme Court struck down the Texas abortion restriction law in a 5-3 vote. The Court held that both the admitting privileges and surgical center requirement place a substantial obstacle in the path of women and constitute an undue burden.
So now the highest court in the land has affirmed that the Texas state legislators have gone too far, injecting their beliefs into women’s personal decisions. But make no mistake in interpreting this victory – the fight to protect abortion rights and access is far from over. We have seen that the anti-abortion extremists who serve in our state legislatures will go to any length to stigmatize providers, politicize women’s health and try to further restrict abortion. We are feeling this in all of our center’s states.
In Pennsylvania, state legislators are attempting to ban abortion procedures through Senate Bill 888. See our post, Keep Politicians Out of the Exam Room for details. Pennsylvanians need to follow the Supreme Court’s lead and build upon this decision by demanding that our state leaders reject SB 888 and pass laws that actually treat women with the compassion, respect and dignity they deserve in accessing abortion care, such as the bills in the Agenda for Women’s Health.
In Georgia, the landscape is nothing close to successful. In fact, instead of working to protect women and families seeking safe and legal abortion care, GA legislators have enacted a law giving two million dollars in state funds to faith-based organizations who specifically pose as medical providers without any licensure and routinely falsify information about the safety and availability of abortion in the state. Rather than put those state funds towards improving women’s health outcomes, the state has failed at ensuring compassionate, safe and dignified care.
In all of our states, we must insist that our leaders support legislation that puts a woman’s health, safety, and right to abortion care before politics, such as the Women’s Health Protection Act. We must insist that those who cannot afford abortion care receive the financial support they need, and outlaw the Hyde Amendment. We must address the daily acts of terrorism directed at abortion providers and enact more protections and increase prevention efforts, including the repeal of existing TRAP laws. Otherwise, centers across the country will continue to close and access will be further restricted for those who need it most.
Enacting laws that ensure access to high-quality abortion care instead of stigmatizing abortion and closing clinics is ultimately up to advocates and legislatures. Elections matter. This case shows the tremendous impact that elected officials – from the state house to the Presidency – have over our ability to lead healthy lives, plan for our future, and determine our own destinies. Up and down the ballot – from the most local race to the presidential election – votes matter.