The Supreme Court Just Made Getting an Abortion a Little Easier in Texas

Finally some good news: this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the harsh regulations Texas was imposing on its abortion clinics were unconstitutional and unnecessary.

This is a huge win for abortion rights. Since states can’t ban abortion, they sometimes try to make it extra hard to get an abortion in other ways, like by setting up insane restrictions and limits. This ruling sets a precedent that states can’t infringe on abortion rights in that way.

The Texas law that’s been struck down said abortion clinics must meet the same standards as outpatient surgical centers, and that would have put about half of Texas abortion clinics out of business. Translation: it would have been damn near impossible for a lot of Texas women to get abortions. The law was passed by the Republican law-makers in Texas, and was signed into law by former Governor (and former presidential candidate) Rick Perry.

Now, the court has effectively decided that the law is pointlessly restrictive and doesn’t help anyone.

“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution,” Justice Breyer said. 

Basically that means the regulations only served one purpose: to keep women from getting abortions.

The most well known Supreme Court decision regarding abortion was Roe v. Wade in 1973 when the Court decided that a woman’s right to get an abortion was protected by a clause in the 14th amendment. Then in 1992, the Planned Parenthood case defined when third trimester abortions are acceptable.

The 1992 case also reaffirmed the decision made in the Roe case, and set up the standard that states are not allowed to place burdens on the constitutional right to have an abortion. That same standard was used to decide today’s case.

But really though, this is a huge victory for the pro-choice movement. Not only was this a slap on the wrist to legislators who use strict regulations to push their personal agendas, but also a huge win for women’s rights. Unfortunately, this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear from anti-choice lawmakers in Texas, but it’s great for now.

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