Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important first step in restoring abortion access for women in Texas and keeping high-quality clinics open. We could not be prouder of our members, Whole Woman’s Health; Austin Women’s Health Center; Killeen Women’s Health Center; Reproductive Services of El Paso; Sherwood C. Lynn, M.D.; and Pamela J. Richter, D.O., for their dedication to their patients and willingness to lead this successful fight against H.B.2. With this decision in place, our members in Texas will be able to continue to provide care and no longer worry if the appointments their patients make one week will have to be canceled the next.
Since the passage of H.B. 2, the NAF Hotline has been flooded with calls from Texas women desperately trying to access the abortion care they need. Too many of those women, after hearing how far they would have to travel to access care, simply said “I can’t get there.” Other women have made appointments, hopeful they could find someone to drive them, only to have to cancel at the last minute. We’ve even heard from women forced to spend the night in their car because they couldn’t afford a hotel or another roundtrip to the clinic. Hopefully, with this decision, new high-quality clinics will be able to open in Texas and throughout the U.S. and women will be able to access abortion care closer to home.
Today is a huge win for women, but there is more work to be done. While this decision will help with the barriers in Texas and gives a solid precedent to strike down similar laws in other states as unconstitutional, there are still many politically-motivated, medically-unnecessary barriers to accessing abortion care throughout the U.S. Waiting periods requiring multiple medically-unnecessary trips to the clinic, funding bans that prevent public and private health insurance from covering abortion care, and ideological laws banning safe methods are still being used by politicians to insert themselves between women and their health care providers.
We will celebrate this win for evidence-based medical care today, but we will continue working with our members in Texas and across the U.S. to ensure that women can access the abortion care they need.
Vicki Saporta is the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, whose members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year.