June 27, 2016, in a landmark victory, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a challenge to a Texas law that severely limits access to safe and legal abortion services. The Court struck down two major provisions of Texas House Bill 2 (HB2): (1) a mandate that abortion providers adhere to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and (2) a requirement that doctors who provide abortions obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.
In its ruling, the Court made clear that: “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.” Indeed, this landmark ruling is an enormous win for women. All of us at Planned Parenthood are thrilled that the Court recognized that laws such as HB2 do not enhance patient safety – rather, they punish women by blocking access to safe abortion.
While no other state laws will be impacted immediately following the decision, the Court established a strong legal standard that will undoubtedly help to challenge similar laws. By making it clear that politicians cannot pass laws to block access to safe, legal abortion, the Supreme Court recognized that a person’s right to make their own decisions about abortion shouldn’t depend on who they are or where they live.
But – this ruling is only the beginning of making that vision a reality. While today’s decision is a tremendous victory, far too many women still face insurmountable barriers to safely accessing their legal right to have an abortion. For this reason, it is imperative that New York strengthens its own abortion laws to preserve and expand reproductive freedom, sending anti-abortion lawmakers the message that we will not be punished, and we will not go back.
I will leave you with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s powerful concurring opinion. Meanwhile, thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood of Mid-Hudson Valley today and every day.
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley
June 29, 2016