The Supreme Court issued a decisive ruling today in what has been described as the most important abortion case in decades. The 5-3 ruling strikes down two abortion restrictions: the mandate that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and the requirement that abortion clinics be outfitted as mini-hospitals.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief in the case, and Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, had this to say:
"The ACLU of Massachusetts hails the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Texas anti-abortion law that endangered women’s health and created major obstacles to women having access to abortion providers. The majority on the court saw this law for what it really is, a sham effort in the guise of protecting women’s health but really aimed at preventing abortions, which are part of the constitutional right to reproductive health care. In so doing, the majority cited and relied upon the overwhelming weight of medical opinion that such laws actually harm women's health.
"Although Massachusetts does not have these TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, we care about women and their families across the country. This decision will help protect the rights of those women. Now is the time to push back nationally and support the bills in Congress to prevent TRAP laws and repeal the Hyde Amendment, so that all women, regardless of how wealthy they are or where they live, will have access to safe, legal services that allow them to make decisions about their health and family, free from politicians’ interference."
Jennifer Dalven, director of the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union said:
"Today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Constitution protects not just the theoretical right to abortion, but the right of a woman to actually get one without unwarranted interference from politicians. The decision should send a loud signal to politicians that they can no longer hide behind sham rationales to shut down clinics and prevent a woman who has decided to end a pregnancy from getting the care she needs." This decision sets a national precedent and its effects are likely to be felt around the country. Challenges to admitting-privileges requirements similar to the Texas law are currently pending in federal courts in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
This decision from the eight justice court sets national precedent that could be felt across the southeast. In addition to Texas, the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah have strict surgical center standards. Courts have also blocked the admitting-privileges law in Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wisconsin.
This is why it is important to join and donate to the ACLU. We work together nationally and state-to-state sharing legal expertise. It's about strategy and cooperation.
Top photo: Staff attorney Jessie Rossman and legal fellow Hallie Pope rally at the Supreme Court during the hearing in the landmark reproductive rights case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt in March 2016. Learn more.