It's been more than 8-years since the United States Supreme Court has taken on an abortion case. But, that changed Friday, as the justices agreed to look at a dispute over state regulations in Texas and Mississippi.
In Texas the fight is over two provisions of a law that was signed by Governor Rick Perry in back in 2013. There were four provisions total, and when the first two went into effect more than half of abortion clinics closed across the state. If these last two are put into place it will bring that number down even more.
“This is very significant, not only for the Austin community, but for the entire state of Texas,” said Heather Busby who is the Executive Director for NARAL, Pro-Choice Texas
The high court previously blocked two provisions of the law. One requires abortion facilities be constructed like surgical centers. The other allows doctors to perform abortions at clinics only if they have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Carol Everett is the founder and CEO of the Heidi Group “I would never recommend that a woman have an abortion because it's an unnatural process, but if she's going to have an abortion I am going to stand up for her and require the abortion clinics to meet the same standards as any other surgical facility.”
Abortion rights groups said the regulations are only aimed at making it harder, if not impossible, for women to get abortions. “It is designed to circumvent the constitution and force clinics to close, so those that don't have the means, don’t have the access to safe and legal abortion care,” said Busby.
If the new laws are allowed to go into effect, Texas would be left with just 10 abortion clinics. Backers of these regulations said they're common-sense measures intended to protect women's health. “I would rather her drive 150 miles to have a higher quality of medical care, why, why would we compromise these women? These are supposed to be people that care about women, why are they willing to give her a second low standard of medical care? Abortion is surgery it deserves the same high standard of medical care,” said Everett.
A decision in the case is expected by late June of next year.