On Monday, June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court voted five-to-three to overturn the state of Texas’ abortion restrictions that go beyond the 1992 ruling in the case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
This ruling cracks downs on states like Texas who are trying to make it more difficult for women to get abortions by using pseudoscience to back up the rules they put into place.
Attorney Mary Nerino commented, “This decision is one of the most important rulings on abortions for the current generation.”
Proponents of Texas’ 2011 abortion legislation, which was shot down today by the highest court, say that they are actually protecting women because abortion clinics are known to be unsafe. This legislation required that abortions be performed at “ambulatory surgical centers” that have the same functions as hospitals.
This makes it virtually impossible for abortion centers across Texas to remain open, forcing women to have to wait inordinate amounts of time to get their abortions, travel for hundreds of miles, and even wait for days before receiving what they believe to be a right protected under federal law.
This ruling is likely going to have consequences for other states who have enacted their own abortion legislation. Over the past five years, there have been over 250 abortion laws passed by states throughout the nation. And many of these laws are being contested by abortion advocates through the judicial system.
States such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin have laws being challenged by abortion right’s supporters. And, being that Texas had the toughest laws of any state in the nation, it is widely believed that the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling will have reverberations on these cases making their way up through the courts.
It is also important to note that the Supreme Court has been doing a delicate dance when it comes to ruling on abortion laws. They have simultaneously upheld some laws, including the federal ban on late-term abortions, while disallowing Texas and Louisiana to further their restrictions.
By doing this, they have concluded that a state the size of France cannot have only ten places for abortions to be performed. Many of them being located in major cities, which puts people not near one of these places at an extreme disadvantage.
And this case highlights the importance of the Supreme Court and the number of justices. Without Justice Scalia on the bench, the court was able to make a decision that will benefit women in the state of Texas. And, when we have appointed our ninth justice, the political leanings of that person will have lasting effects on the rights and access that women across the country are allowed to have.
Using false scientific narratives to support one’s claims about abortion and other topics is not new, but it is becoming a huge problem because these beliefs are being put into legislation that affect millions of women and individuals around the country.