By Charles Topher | 10 June 2015
The ongoing war on women in Texas has been wrought with underhanded attempts to infringe on a woman’s right to choose. One of the most successful tactics is a law requiring that abortion providers operate under what the state calls “hospital-level standards” that include minimum room sizes, staffing levels and ventilation systems.
Those standards weren’t put in place to make abortion safer for women, of course; they were put in place to force clinics to close. Most clinics lack the financial means to make those kind of upgrades.
Of the nearly 58 million legal abortions performed in the United States since Roe v Wade, about 400 women’s deaths have resulted. Those statistics don’t come close to warranting the upgrades the state of Texas is requiring of abortion providers.
This isn’t the first time Texas has waged war on women’s rights by claiming they’re trying to protect them from harm. In 2012, a law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a local hospital was passed. Between the two laws, Texas, a state of 27 million, will now have seven abortion clinics, down from 41 in 2012 before the first wave of attacks.
Nancy Northrop, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said:
Not since before Roe v. Wade has a law or court decision had the potential to devastate access to reproductive health care on such a sweeping scale. We now look to the Justices to stop the sham laws that are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm.
The Supreme Court sidelined the law last year, sending it to the lower court of appeals. Advocacy groups said they will appeal the decision to the high court as soon as possible.
Unless the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and halts the decision, Texas will be able to start enforcing the law, shutting down all but the seven clinics that qualify, within three weeks.
The restrictions, if enforced, will create particularly difficult situations for women in rural areas. A woman choosing to end a pregnancy from El Paso, for example, would have a nearly 1200 mile round trip journey to San Antonio. The Court found that those women could always cross state lines into New Mexico and find abortion within reach.
Their idea of “in reach” may differ for rural women, particularly from low-income brackets. While the court found it acceptable that 9 out of 10 Texas women would have abortion providers within 150 miles, they failed to represent the women of less affluent families who would struggle not only with the cost of such a trip but with the transportation to get them there.
Texas has definitely hauled out the big guns in its war on women, and unless SCOTUS acts, they will have all but won.
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