On Monday, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to smack down Texas for its shameful attempt to block women from getting abortions. The win for abortions rights will allow many of the state’s women’s health clinics to stay open and will give millions of women access to exercising their constitutional right to get an abortion.
We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Breyer wrote. He said that the restrictions placed “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion,” amounted to an undue burden on abortion access,” and were violations of the U.S. Constitution. He was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Undoubtedly this is a major win for abortion rights in this country, but it also served to expose just how craven the pro-life movement is in the tactics they’ve used to stop Roe v. Wade. At one moment during the case, things came to a head – and the facade of compassion towards women was torn off, exposing the ugly truth behind it.
Conservatives have often claimed the need to shutter abortion clinics because they are a “danger” to women who use them. Abortions, they argue, should be performed at hospitals or not at all. However, not a single shred of medical evidence has supported the idea that abortion clinics pose a serious threat that a hospital wouldn’t. It might sound good as a pro-life talking point, but it’s a fantasy.
The Supreme Court must have had that in mind when they posed a simple question to the pro-life lawyers arguing for closing Texas’s clinics. Did these lawyers know of a single example of a woman would have been saved by this new law? The lawyers said they couldn’t find a single one. The admission was so damning that Justice Stephen Breyer mentioned it in his majority opinion.
We have found nothing in Texas’ record evidence that shows that, compared to prior law (which required a “working arrangement” with a doctor with admitting privileges), the new law advanced Texas’ legitimate interest in protecting women’s health.
We add that, when directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.
The testimony only supports what many pro-choice advocates have been saying all along – the laws put in place to make abortion harder are not done with the interest of the woman in mind, but the desire to circumvent the country’s abortion rights and make it harder for woman to exercise theirs.
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