Potential Supreme Court Case to Determine Access of Reproductive Health Options for Women

As reproductive rights continue to be at the forefront of the political landscape, there also appears a growing and fear-worthy crisis on women’s health. A particular example showcasing this crisis has come out of Texas, where, in 2013, legislators passed anti-choice legislation imposing many restrictions on reproductive health clinics around the state. In an attempt to circumvent the troublesome issue of banning abortions entirely, such as ‘Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,’ or TRAP laws, as these bills are known, are strategically implemented restrictions that would force reproductive health clinics to close when new standards became unachievable.  In Texas, the bill in question, HB2, instituted a policy enforcing these clinics to meet the same regulations as those of “ambulatory surgical centers.” Due to the high and often unreachable costs of these changes to building specifications, many reproductive healthcare clinics in Texas were forced to close, leaving the state with a clinic deduction of more than 50%. A large state with a growing population, Texas, and its female inhabitants, face incredibly detrimental effects from this bill. Since most of the clinics that remain in operation are located around metropolitan areas of the state, women seeking reproductive health options will be met with difficulty if they reside elsewhere.

Perhaps the most disturbing effect of this bill stems from the regulations that do not make sense for these types of reproductive healthcare clinics. Requiring these clinics to adhere to ambulatory surgical center standards does not improve the quality of healthcare for patients, but simply implements unnecessary costs for the clinics themselves. Options and procedures would go unchanged, making it blatantly obvious that the bill is simply an attempt by Texas state legislators to make it more difficult for women to have available reproductive healthcare options.

This painstakingly obvious attempt has caused a versatile group of organizations, policymakers and lawyers to come together for a common cause: urging the United States Supreme Court to accept the case. The implications the outcome of this case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, will have on women will be monumental. As Supreme Court outcomes are typically used as “precedent” in future cases, the result of this case has the ability to significantly help or hinder women’s reproductive health options in Texas and beyond. If the Supreme Court votes in favor of the bill, women in Texas will suffer long wait times and potentially dangerous health situations at clinics. Furthermore, other states’ legislators could utilize this case for leverage and justification of their own strategic reproductive health bills. According to HuffPost Politics, this will be the Supreme Court’s first case on reproductive rights in nine years if agreed upon. Expected to make a decision on whether or not to take the case by the end of November, the Supreme Court justices will most likely focus on the” ambulatory surgical center” aspect of the bill, according to a Politico health care reporter.

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