“The right to abortion is part of every woman’s right to control her reproductive choices and her own life. We must reject all efforts to coerce women’s reproductive decisions. The goals of reproductive rights activists must encompass the right to have children as well as the right not to.” (From the book: Our Bodies Ourselves)
Below: Reporting by Lawrence Hurley. Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Texas.; Editing by Sue Horton) Nov 14, 2015
For original and related articles: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/14/usa-court-abortion-states-idUSL1N1382ZR20151114#AbFIj3FOxA0a7LxU.97
U.S. top court’s Texas abortion ruling to have broad impact in states:
Nov 14 The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to hear a challenge to tough abortion restrictions in Texas raises questions about the legal fate of similar laws in more than a dozen other states.
The court’s ruling, due by June, could spell out the extent to which states can impose clinic regulations likely to restrict access to abortion as an outpatient procedure. If the court upholds the Texas law, similar laws would also fall. But if the court rules in favor of the state, then more states would be able to follow suit.
“Broadly speaking, the rule the Supreme Court crafts will impact all different types of regulation,” said Steven Aden, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that supports abortion restrictions.
A number of conservative-leaning states have passed laws in recent years governing abortion providers and clinics.
The case before the Supreme Court focuses on two provisions of a 2013 Texas law. One requires clinics providing abortions to have costly hospital-grade facilities and the other requires abortion clinic physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (50 km).
Ten of the 50 U.S. states have imposed admitting-privilege requirements similar to those in Texas, while six have enacted laws requiring hospital-grade facilities that mirror the Texas law, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortion providers in the case before the Supreme Court.
In total, 22 states have specific licensing standards for abortion clinics, although not all are as strict as Texas’, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports the right to an abortion, but whose research is cited by both sides in the debate.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that if the Texas law is upheld, “copy cat laws around the nation will proliferate, creating disparities in access to care.”
Courts have blocked six of the Texas-like admitting privileges laws, including measures in Wisconsin and Alabama.
A Mississippi law mandating admitting privileges, which would have led to the only abortion clinic in the state closing down, was put on hold by a lower court in 2012. That case is pending at the high court and will likely be put on hold until the justices rule in the Texas case.
Courts have been more favorable toward tightened rules for clinics providing abortions. Four of the six laws similar to Texas’, including measures in Missouri and Virginia, have been allowed, at least in part, to go into effect.
12 other states including Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas, have this year considered enacting similar laws but the bills did not pass, according the Guttmacher Institute.
Out-of-state organizations on both sides of the issue regularly intervene in advancing or trying to kill legislation in states around the country.
Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, has draft legislation that it encourages states to adopt. The group talks to state legislators, testifies in hearings and joins in defending laws in court. On the other side, groups like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union lobby against new abortion restrictions.
Even when the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled that women had a constitutional right to have an abortion in the Roe v. Wade case, it made it clear that states could regulate clinics, said Denise Burke, American United for Life’s vice president of legal affairs.
If Texas wins in the high court, “it will give additional encouragement to states to follow Texas’ lead,” Burke said.
She cited Nebraska and Ohio as states that would be among those most likely to enact new laws.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Texas case is unlikely to directly affect other aspects of the broader abortion wars. Courts, for example, have consistently struck down stringent laws that aim to ban abortions at earlier stages of pregnancy. In January 2014, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Arizona officials seeking to reinstate such a ban.
But the justices will be asked again in coming months to take up the broader issue, with appeals coming that concern bans in Arkansas and North Dakota, both of which were struck down by lower courts.
Below: NY Times article (excerpts) Adam Liptak reported from Washington, and Manny Fernandez from Houston:
**for full article with informational links: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/s
Texas Ruling on Abortion Leads to Call for Clarity
JUNE 10, 2015
A room at the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen, the sole abortion provider in its area.Court Upholds Texas Limits on Abortions
JUNE 9, 2015
The remaining clinics, lawyers for abortion providers said, would be clustered in four metropolitan areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. “There would be no licensed abortion facilities west of San Antonio,” the providers’ brief said, “and the only abortion clinic south of San Antonio would have a highly restricted capacity.”
State officials said the law was needed to protect women’s health. Abortion providers said the regulations were expensive, unnecessary and a ruse meant to put many of them out of business.
“This case presents a very, very dramatic impact in the type of restrictions on access to abortion clinics that we’ve seen over the past few years,” said Nancy Northup, the president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose lawyers were part of the legal team representing the clinics that sued the state. “If this case is not taken by the Supreme Court, it’s going to allow a continuation of the closing of clinics by these sneaky, underhanded methods.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, one of the abortion providers that sued Texas over the law, praised the Supreme Court’s move. “We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for Texas women,” Ms. Miller said in a statement.
The bill was passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in July 2013 by Rick Perry, the governor at the time. Mr. Perry, who is running for president, said in a statement on Monday that the Supreme Court’s stay “unnecessarily puts lives in danger by allowing unsafe facilities to continue to perform abortions.”
“I am confident the court will ultimately uphold these common-sense measures to protect the health and safety of Texas women,” he added.
Texas Republican leaders, who have said that the law’s restrictions were intended to protect the safety of women seeking abortions, defended the measure, which was known as House Bill 2, or H.B. 2. They expressed confidence the Supreme Court would ultimately weigh in on their side.
“H.B. 2 was a constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality health care standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law.”
The state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, said in a statement that the Supreme Court was “continuing their attack on states’ rights with a narrow majority of activist justices.”
On June 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, largely upheld the contested provisions. A panel of the court ruled that the law, with minor exceptions, did not place an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion.
The court said women in West Texas could obtain abortions in New Mexico, a ruling at odds with one from a different panel of the same court that said Mississippi could not rely on out-of-state abortion clinics in defending a law that would have shut down the state’s only clinic.
On June 19, the panel in the Texas case declined to grant the challengers a stay. They filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court that night.
This is the second time the Supreme Court has issued a reprieve to the clinics. In October, the court allowed more than a dozen clinics in the state to reopen.
Above Video: Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards testifies before Congress (This is a Five Hour “Hearing” 2015)
extra Thanks to Libba Bray’s article~ https://libbabray.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/why-i-stand-by-planned-parenthood/
Anti-Choice Agenda To Demonize Women:
We are always told that violent anti-choicers are a mere fringe. Obviously, few anti-choicers commit murder or arson. But, as the Matthew Shepard case reminds us, extreme vocabulary creates a climate of moral permission for extreme acts. This is a movement whose main spokespeople, many of them mantled in clerical or political authority, regularly use words like ‘baby killers’, ‘murder’, ‘holocaust’, and ‘Nazis’, thus legitimizing just about anything. After all, the conspirators who tried to assassinate Hitler are heroes. ~Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation (November 16, 1998)
Pro-Choice Agenda for Women’s Reproductive Rights:
Young women need to know that abortion rights and abortion access are not presents bestowed or retracted by powerful men (or women) — Presidents, Supreme Court justices, legislators, lobbyists — but freedoms won, as freedom always is, by people struggling on their own behalf. ~Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation (May 1, 2000)