The Supreme Court Just Clapped Back Against Anti-Abortion Laws
Usually, when the words “abortion clinic” and “news” are put together in a sentence about the United States, the news is depressingly bad. We’ve watched over the past year as women seeking safe and easy access to abortion have had to navigate fake abortion clinics in Georgia, had to reconcile the fact that the Republican Party’s presidential nominee said he will punish women for getting abortions, and had to deal with cruel regulations that have shuttered dozens of abortion clinics across the country. Somehow, out of all that muck, a positive news story has emerged in the ongoing fight to reaffirm a woman’s right to choose—and it’s a huge victory.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced a verdict in the legal battle between abortion providers and the state of Texas, which concerned the “TRAP laws” overregulating abortion providers with ridiculous and, as a result, forcing them to close. Regulations included requiring doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and required all abortions to be done in ambulatory surgical centers. And all of this under the false guise of making abortion safer for women. Interestingly, these regulation paint abortion as an incredibly dangerous practice, when in reality it’s actually safer than colonoscopies.
In the 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court gave hope to pro-choice advocates who have been battered by anti-abortion laws and regulations. They found that the laws place an “undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade, which pro-life activists have conveniently forgot about for the past few decades as they’ve chipped away at abortion rights. The ruling is the first time since 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey case that the Supreme Court has handed down a decision on abortion and, luckily, it was a positive one. But what comes next for Texas and the handful of other states with similarly restrictive anti-abortion laws?
This fight isn't over: The next president has to protect women's health. Women won't be "punished" for exercising their basic rights. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 27, 2016
The aftershock of the decision isn’t as clear, but it does provide strong precedent for a new wave of legal challenges against both the 14 states with harsh admitting privileges and the 22 states that have ambulatory surgical center requirements. There’s still a lot of work to do, including making sure that access to abortions is a right and not a privilege, but the victory will provide a much-needed moral boost as the election season heats up and abortion coverage somehow continues to be a debate rather than a right.
Stay tuned to Milk for more abortion coverage.
Original imagery by Chris Thomas. Additional imagery via Getty and Tumblr.