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US Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Texas Abortion Lawsuit

Ryan E. Poppe
Protestors outside Federal Courthouse in Austin



The Justices will look at the legality of abortion restrictions passed by the Texas legislature in 2013.  Lawmakers adopted measures that require abortions be performed in facilities that meet requirements for ambulatory surgical centers. The physicians must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.


At issue is whether those measures have made it too difficult to get an abortion in Texas, and whether women in rural areas have to drive hundreds of miles to receive an abortion. 


Amy Hagstrom Miller is the owner and CEO of Whole Women’s Health, the lead plaintiff in the case challenging the Texas law.


“It is time for the Supreme Court to step in and stop states from chipping away from women’s rights to safe and legal abortion care," Hagstrom-Miller said.


For Hagstrom-Miller the past year and a half of legal challenges has been a roller-coaster ride for abortion providers and their clients.


“Whole Women’s Health has closed and reopened both our Fort Worth facilities and the McAllen facility more than once in the last year and half we’ve had to open and close repeatedly.  And it’s in creditably disruptive not only for the staff and physicians but even the people in the community, they get confused, is abortion legal?, is the clinic open?, where can I go to have care?" Hagstrom-Miller explained in a joint press call following the courts announcement.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office is defending the restrictions passed by the legislature.  In response to the Supreme Court’s taking the case he issued a statement saying:  “The state has wide discretion to pass laws ensuring Texas women are not subject to substandard conditions at abortion facilities and we look forward to demonstrating the validity of these important health and safety requirements in Court,”


  Joe Pojman with the Texas Alliance For Life support’s the state abortion restrictions.


“Because this is just a matter of protecting the health and safety of women, we have confidence that the Supreme Court will uphold the law," Pojman explained.


During the past two years 10 states have passed abortion restrictions similar to Texas, if the Supreme Court sides with abortion providers those laws would also be struck down.  If the court decides in favor of the State, advocates say there would be just ten clinics in Texas that would qualify to perform abortions.