Texas Abortion Case Before U.S. Supreme Court Represents ‘Historic Fork in the Road’

March 1, 2016
Contact: Christie Petrone, 718-594-6538, [email protected]

  Case highlights growing chasm between trend of state anti-abortion laws and voters’ desire that abortion be safe, legal, respectful of a woman’s decision, affordable, available, and without pressure
NEW YORK — The National Institute for Reproductive Health and its Action Fund join the groundswell of advocates and activists calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide that Texas has gone too far in its efforts to prevent women from getting abortions by closing the vast majority of clinics in the state. Oral arguments are being heard tomorrow in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the most significant abortion rights case to reach the high court in more than two decades.

“The Texas law before the Supreme Court is one of the most egregious examples of more than 300 laws state legislators quietly passed in the last few years to shame, pressure, and punish women seeking abortions, purposely pushing this medical procedure beyond the reach of millions of women in scores of states,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and its Action Fund.

“We are at an historic fork in the road, and the question is:  Will our nation’s highest court allow legislators to render meaningless a woman’s right to decide to have an abortion or will it put a stop to this political interference?” Miller continued. “There’s a huge public outcry around this case because the vast majority disagrees with the nationwide trend to restrict abortion and deny access to reproductive health care.”

Recent nationwide polling commissioned by the National Institute for Reproductive Health found that large majorities of voters across the country want abortion to be safe, legal, respectful of a woman’s decision, supportive, affordable, available, and without embarrassment, pressure, or shame.

The last abortion case to pose such a stark decision point for the nation was in 1992, when Miller was part of the team that brought Planned Parenthood v. Casey to the Supreme Court. (She served as the right hand to attorney Kathryn Kolbert, who argued the case on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and was communications director for the Center for Reproductive Rights.)

“I see such significant similarities between where we are today and where things stood in 1992: Attacks on abortion rights and access in state legislatures have reached an all-time high and the Supreme Court is being asked to rule in a case that could reshape abortion rights for generations to come. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a defining presidential election year, with important races all the way down the ballot,” Miller noted.

“Now, like in Casey, what the Supreme Court does in this case matters, especially for the women of Texas. But what perhaps matters even more, is what we — as advocates and voters — do next to move our states and our country in a different direction on abortion, a direction that ensures that every woman can make important life decisions like whether and when to have a child with the support, respect, and dignity we all deserve.”