Supreme Court places hold on Texas’ abortion law

Jackie Wang

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked Texas’ law shutting down all but nine abortion clinics in the state.

Texas health care providers asked the Court to hold provisions of health care funding that would have shut down abortion clinics because of more stringent standards after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals did not grant a hold on those provisions June 19.

The contested law required abortion clinics to have hospital-grade surgical centers, as well as require doctors administering abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius.

Forty-one abortion clinics were open in Texas in 2012. Without the court’s hold, that number would have plummeted to less than a quarter of that.

Women advocacy groups, including Whole Woman’s Health, filed the request for emergency hold on the law, asking for more time to file a separate report for judicial review on the law. Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said the Supreme Court’s ruling relieved the organization.

“We at Whole Woman’s Health know that reproductive care is not some political bargaining chip—that’s part of why we’re fighting this,” Hagstrom said in a statement. “With today’s ruling, we remain hopeful that the justice system too will stand with Texas woman and Whole Woman’s Health.”

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement Monday that Texas politicians have tried to duck the Constitution to shut down abortion clinics.

“The Supreme Court has affirmed time and again that a woman has a constitutionally protected right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and we are confident the justices will make clear once again that the constitutional protections for safe and legal abortion are real,” Northrup said.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.