NEWSFLASH: Supreme Court Does Right By Texas Abortion Clinics

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court took action to keep open the doors of some of Texas’ abortion clinics.

Women’s health advocates had filed an emergency motion earlier this month asking the court to strike down a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that had shuttered all but eight clinics in the state.

The Fifth Circuit had voted to allow parts of HB2, Texas’ far-reaching anti-abortion bill, to go into effect, specifically, a provision requiring abortion clinics to meet the building standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and one requiring abortion doctors in certain areas to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked those provisions, allowing 13 clinics to reopen their doors.

While this is certainly a victory, we’re not ready to celebrate just yet. The Supreme Court’s ruling only means that a panel of judges on the Fifth Circuit will hear an appeal on the case—yes, the same Fifth Circuit that allowed the anti-choice provisions to go into effect in the first place. It’s all part of the merry-go-round that Texas abortion providers have experienced this year as parts of HB2 go into effect, then get challenged in court.

Plus, other parts of HB2, such as an admitting-privileges requirement for all doctors in the state, and another requiring physicians to abide by outdated and medically inappropriate rules for medication abortion, remain in effect.

But feminists don’t give up easily and have vowed to continue fighting HB2.

Said Nancy Northtrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights (one of the organizations that brought the case to the Supreme Court):

This fight against Texas’ sham abortion law is not over. HB2 was designed to gut the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade and half of the state’s clinics remain closed. We will continue this legal battle until the rights of Texas women are restored.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Adam Groffman licensed under Creative Commons 2.0



Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.