Today, the Supreme Court of the United States in a landmark ruling protected access to safe, legal abortion by blocking two unconstitutional Texas restrictions that threatened to close all but nine health centers in the entire state that could provide abortion for the 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age — down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law. As the Court recognized, “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”
In response, Planned Parenthood has vowed to redouble its efforts to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion across the country. Since 2011, state lawmakers have passed more than 316 restrictions on safe, legal abortion, and have introduced 442 in the first six months of 2016 alone, according to Guttmacher. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, was brought by several Texas abortion providers, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This landmark ruling is an enormous victory for women. We are thrilled the Court recognized that these laws do not enhance patient safety -- rather, they punish women by blocking access to safe abortion. Yet far too many women still face insurmountable barriers, which is why we are taking this fight state by state. It’s time to pass state laws to protect a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, and repeal ones that block it. A person’s right to make their own decisions about abortion shouldn’t depend on who they are or where they live. ”
Blocking access to reproductive health care has real and disastrous consequences for all people. This often has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care -- as National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, In Our Own Voice, and other Reproductive Justice organizations have demonstrated.
Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of these restrictions when they temporarily went into effect in October 2014. Our Texas health centers wereinundated with calls from frightened and upset patients and women were lined up outside our doors in the morning, waiting to see if they can still access the care they need. Doris Dixon, a call center director for Planned Parenthood in Houston, shared a heartbreaking account of a woman who traveled from out of state and stayed in Houston overnight, only to find that she couldn’t obtain a procedure, writing: “I don’t know what will happen to her. I don’t know that I will ever stop thinking about her. And she is just one woman whose life has been turned upside down by this law.”
A PerryUndem poll commissioned by Vox found that the majority of Americans oppose restrictions meant to shutter health centers or make it more difficult for women to access abortion, and that 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.
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 over 650 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
June 27, 2016