Much is at stake in a Supreme Court case over a Texas abortion law. The nation’s highest court heard oral arguments last week in Whole Woman’s Health v. John Hellerstedt. The case challenges restrictions placed on Texas abortion clinics under a law known as HB2. That law uses medical arguments to restrict women’s access to abortion in a state that has already decimated clinics.
Meanwhile, Indiana passed a draconian bill last week that so severely curtails abortion access that it has horrified reproductive rights advocates. Gov. Mike Pence is expected to sign it into law soon.
Both laws represent what Jessica Pieklo calls “a Frankenstein’s monster of anti-abortion legislation.” Pieklo is the vice president of law and the courts at RH Reality Check, and in an interview on “Uprising”she explained that such a bill “takes a bunch of different provisions and stitches them all together.” Such omnibus bills have become increasingly popular among Republican-dominated state legislatures, and they offer a macabre menu of constraints on women’s reproductive rights.
In the Texas case, the Supreme Court is considering two provisions of HB2 that abortion rights advocates have appropriately deemed “TRAP” laws, an acronym for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. The idea is to place such unreasonable requirements on abortion clinics—such as meeting architectural standards of surgical centers even if no surgeries are performed, and doctors having admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles—that the clinics will be unable to meet them and be forced to shut down. The legislators pushing such bills expect us to believe that they and their anti-choice allies simply want to “raise the health and safety standards”of providers and are innocent of any ulterior motives.