Washington, DC -- Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding restrictions that threaten to further devastate access to safe, legal abortion in Texas. If the Supreme Court does not reverse the lower court’s ruling, it would leave the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in Texas with only 10 health centers that provide safe, legal abortion in the entire state — down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law.
These restrictions have already shut down health centers across Texas, and women are already struggling to access safe, legal abortion. In fact, new research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) found that some women are waiting as long as 20 days to access abortion in Texas. If the Supreme Court does not reverse the appellate ruling, the situation could get even worse. Researchers estimate that the number of women seeking abortions at the remaining 10 health centers would increase dramatically beyond existing capacity, forcing longer delays that would nearly double the percentage of abortions in the second trimester. While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it’s safest the earliest it’s provided.
The case is Whole Women’s Health, et al. v. Cole, et al. and the plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“If the court allows this clinic shutdown law to stand, it would essentially take many women back to a time before abortion was legal. Texas paints a devastating picture of what’s at stake for women across the country -- where women are already traveling hundreds of miles, crossing state lines, and waiting weeks to get an abortion, if they can at all. A woman’s very right to make personal medical decisions about abortion is now before the court.
“These clinic shutdown laws are a clear attempt to end women’s access to safe and legal abortion, and this is not what the public wants. When this law passed, it sparked historic protests in Texas and across the country. For more than 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Constitution protects every woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions about abortion -- and Americans support that right.”
Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion. A recent Bloomberg Politics national poll found that 67% of Americans surveyed said the Supreme Court was right to rule that women have a constitutional right to abortion and agree with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. A VOX/PerryUndem poll found that more Americans now consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials don't want to see Roe overturned, and 72 percent of Republicans think abortion should be available.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
November 13, 2015