So what’s going on in the Lone Star state? Starting in the month of March, the Supreme Court conducted their first hearing including round of arguments between “Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt” .
Who is Hellerstedt? Dr. John Hellerstedt is the commissioner of the Texas Health Department.
What is Whole Women’s Health? It’s a private GYN service for women that offers women’s services (including abortion) across the state of Texas.
So what’s the issue? Since 2013, half of the women’s clinics in the state of Texas have been shut down or forced to close due to a state law called HB2. Under HB2, every clinic that offers abortions on the premises, has to be located within 30 miles of a hospital among countless physical regulations to the premises ranging from the size of rooms to the size of doors and the number of staff.
To put it simply, Roe vs. Wade (1973) gave women the right to an abortion and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1992) gave state governments the right to regulate a woman’s right to choose without hindering or making it hard for her to do so. While the State of Texas argues that HB2 protects the health of every woman who enters a clinic, opponents argue that the law makes it nearly impossible for the remaining clinics to function and stay open.
So what does this ruling mean for me? According to the US Census Bureau (www.census.gov) , Texas is the second largest state in terms of population after California and half of them , (50.4%) are women. If you reside in the State of Texas or any other state that has similar rulings, your right to an abortion just became ten times harder because the clinics will be few and far between and more importantly overbooked and overcrowded.
So who’s fighting for my rights? The Obama Administration is urging the Supreme court to reverse HB2 because it will harm women’s health instead of protecting it. Furthermore, over 100 professional women (who opted for an abortion) during their teens and twenties explained to the supreme court why their right to choose led to their success as lawyers, judges and positions on capital hill. According to the Huffington Post, the final ruling may take place in June and EGL will keep you posted.
Written By: Latoya Hoyte
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