On Monday, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision on whether Texas’ Republican-backed 2013 abortion law places an “undue burden on women.”
The law, made famous when former Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for 13 hours wearing her now iconic pink sneakers, is one of three cases for the court to decide before the completion of its term on Monday. To wit, abortion clinics would like to see the court block two provisions: one that requires doctors performing abortions to have formal admitting privileges to hospitals, and another that mandates that even early procedures—which can be undergone by taking just two pills—take place in expensive, hospital-grade surgical facilities.
Of course, the law has already taken its toll on Texas abortion providers. From NBC:
Saying they are unable to comply with the admitting privileges provision — in one border town, McAllen, no hospital would even send abortion providers an application — about half of the clinics in Texas have already closed since 2013. If the Supreme Court allows the other requirement to go into effect, only nine or 10 clinics will be left in a state with 5.4 million women of reproductive age.
The plaintiffs in the case, Whole Woman’s Health, argue that the law is an intentional effort to impede women’s access to abortion. The defendant, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services Dr. John Hellerstedt, says that “Texas is trying to ensure patient safety and improve standards of care.” This is, of course, bullshit: According to the Guttmacher Institute:
A first-trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and carries minimal risk—less than 0.05%—of major complications that might need hospital care.
America, with its puritanical roots still buried deep, remains divided on whether abortion should be legal. A Reuters/Ipso poll conducted earlier this month found that 47 percent of respondents said “abortion generally” should be legal, and 42 percent said it should be illegal.
This will be the first major abortion ruling that SCOTUS has issued since 2007.