Texas is currently in the middle of a Supreme Court battle over Texas House Bill 2, a law that requires all abortion clinics in the state to meet the same standards as hospitals. Since most abortion clinics do not perform the same type of procedures as hospitals, meeting those standards is prohibitively expensive.
Since the law went into effect in 2013, 22 clinics have been shut down in the state, severely limiting women's access to safe abortions, as well as overall reproductive healthcare.
During the proceedings, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller is representing the Texas Department of State Health Services. On Wednesday, he made the argument that many women who live farther than 100 miles from a clinic have the option of going to a clinic in a neighboring state. He used the example of women in the El Paso area who could drive to New Mexico for care.
However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out that abortion clinics in New Mexico are not held to the standards of Texas HB2. If it's okay for women in El Paso to go to a clinic that doesn't adhere to these regulations, why isn't it okay for the rest of the women in Texas? Essentially, Texas is countering their own argument that clinics are only safe for women when they're held to HB2 standards, by saying that clinics in New Mexico are an acceptable alternative.
SCOTUS will continue to hear arguments around Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt over the next few months and should make a decision by June. The court will decide whether Texas' restrictive abortion laws are in the best interests of women's health. If they decide that they are, it would leave many women across the country without access to safe abortions, as well as things like STD testing and birth control.
According to the Austin Chronicle, "Expected to be the most pivotal abortion rights case since 1992, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt could very well set the course for reproductive health laws across the country for decades to come."
HT to Fusion
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