LANSING — Today, the Supreme Court of the United States in a landmark ruling protected access to safe, legal abortion by blocking two unconstitutional Texas restrictions that threatened to close all but nine health centers in the entire state that could provide abortion for the 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age — down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law. As the Court recognized, “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”
In response, Planned Parenthood has vowed to redouble its efforts to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion across the country. Since 2011, state lawmakers have passed more than 316 restrictions on safe, legal abortion, and have introduced 442 in the first six months of 2016 alone, according to Guttmacher.
In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed, and Gov. Snyder signed, an omnibus bill, commonly referred to as HB5711, that restricted access to abortion in numerous ways, including adding TRAP laws similar to those addressed by SCOTUS in today’s ruling. Those TRAP laws require Michigan providers to be licensed as free-standing surgical outpatient facilities (FSOFs), similar to the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) requirements proscribed in Texas’ HB2.
Statement from Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan:
“Today is a great day. The Supreme Court made it clear that politicians cannot pass laws to block access to safe, legal abortion. Yet today’s victory does not undo the past five years of damage and restrictions already written into law. No woman or doctor should be punished for receiving or providing essential medical care. We will continue to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion on behalf of our patients in Michigan. We will not be punished, and we will not go back.”
Blocking access to reproductive health care has real and disastrous consequences for all people. This often has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care — as National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, In Our Own Voice, and other Reproductive Justice organizations have demonstrated.
A PerryUndem poll commissioned by Vox found that the majority of Americans oppose restrictions meant to shutter health centers or make it more difficult for women to access abortion, and that 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.