The Supreme Court blocked the state of Texas from enforcing a strict new abortion law that was likely to close most of the state’s remaining abortion clinics. The block as made by a 5-4 vote and the measure would require these clinics to have doctors on staff who are admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law requires these clinics to meet the standards of an outpatient surgery center. The combination of these two rules was expected to close all but nine of Texas abortion clinics. State officials said the law was needed to protect women’s health.
On Monday this week, the Supreme Court ruling halted these two requirements. The stop will remain in effect while providers seek a full review of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole by the high court. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit had upheld most of the law earlier this month and then declined to suspend its ruling. The law in question is HB 2, an omnibus package of abortion restrictions that Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Monday “ensures abortion clinics and doctors meet basic health standards if they choose to operate their business in Texas. Today’s delay subjects Texas women to substandard care all to the benefit of the abortion industry’s bottom line.”
The state of Mississippi has also asked the high court to consider a case involving a similar admitting privileges requirement. A panel of the 5th Circuit blocked the Mississippi law, which abortion-rights advocates say would shutter the state’s only remaining clinic.
Abortion and women’s reproductive health laws continue to be a major point of contention among both lawmakers and the American public. With the 19th Amendment – which paved the way for reproductive rights reform and many other issues that impact women – turning 95 this year, it seems like high time for government figures to relinquish their control over women’s bodies and let women make informed, safe decisions for themselves.
Image: Mark Fischer via Flickr CC.