The Texas Tribune reported last week that the Texas Department of Health Services has since February been withholding data that could show the impact of Texas’s abortion clinic restrictions on women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions.
Oh well—even absent that data, the United States Supreme Court was able to determine that Texas’s abortion clinic restriction represent an unnecessary burden on women’s right to abortion services:
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which was joined in full by Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the swing vote on the abortion issue.
“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Breyer wrote. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so” [Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Access Law,” CNN.com, 2016.06.27].
The Texas law also put women’s health at risk:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Breyer’s opinion and wrote a brief concurring opinion, which focused on what she called women in “desperate circumstances.”
“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety” [de Vogue and Berman, 2016.06.27].
(Faute de mieux—for want of a better option. Thank you, Honorable RBG, for making a little French spike on the Googles.)