1. Supreme Court Shuts Down HB2
The Short of It:
The Supreme Court threw out a Texas abortion access law Monday, the most significant abortion rights decision in two decades.
The Longer Version of It:
First, let's roll it back.
We've all heard of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that made abortion in the U.S. legal. Still, that hasn't stopped states from trying to block and regulate abortion procedures under the guise that they're protecting the health and safety of women. (Kind of like that person at the office who insists they're going gluten free so that the holiday party has to get catered by Veggie Grill instead of Kobe Steak House. Even though you just saw them getting their milkshake on at In-N-Out last night. In words, they're selfishly putting their own ish on you.)
So, fast forward to 2013 when a law was passed in Texas by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law by Rick Perry, who was governor at the time. The first part of the law required all abortion clinics to operate under ambulatory surgical center standards. Meaning they had to fulfill the requirements of a regular hospital by matching building standards, equipment and staffing, etc. The second part required all doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of a hospital. The stipulations meant expensive upgrades to abortion clinics and caused over 40 clinics that had been operating in Texas to shut down. Meaning abortion access became severely limited.
Like most topics in our country, people took sides. Like most abortion topics in our country, the two sides were the Pro-lifers and the Pro-choicers.
Pro-life advocates argued that the regulations were needed in order to protect women's health. Pro-choice supporters critiqued the law for severely limiting abortion access in the state. Abortion providers called the regulations and requirements expensive, unnecessary and purposefully created to shutter clinics.
That brings us to today, when in a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt and agreed with pro-choice advocates arguing that the law was unconstitutional and placed excessive restrictions and burdens on clinics and their ability to function and provide women with abortions.
The decision is a huge win for Pro-choice advocates. Why? The decision by the Supreme Court is essentially a red light that could stave off other conservative states from writing similar "clinic shutdown" laws. Had the law been given the green light, abortion clinics would have been forced to close their doors based on the strict regulations and made abortions theoretically legal. The Supreme Court decision is one more strong hold to ensure that women in the U.S. will continue to exercise their right to access safe and legal abortions.