On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down key parts of Texas's House Bill 2, a measure that would have required expensive and logistically difficult requirements for abortion clinics, effectively closing most of the ones that remain in the state. This ruling in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is an historic victory for reproductive rights, and the majority opinion definitely has a triumphant tone. The 107-page document was written by Justice Stephen Breyer and includes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's glorious concurring opinion. If you need some inspiration, here are the eight best quotes from the Supreme Court's abortion ruling.
Even with the Supreme Court down one member, the justices managed to come to a clear ruling. Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court has passed on a number of cases or found themselves at a deadlock. Not so with this case. According to Slate, the members of the Supreme Court voted 5-3 against the bill. Without going into the long list of specifics, the bill would have required required any medical professional performing an abortion to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles, as well as meet a number of strict standards for surgical centers, despite abortion not being considered a surgical procedure. This bill, had it stood, would have only left 10 abortion clinics open in the vast state of Texas, according to The Atlantic. This ruling proves that much of the criticism levied by the state government about the safety of abortion and abortion clinics was not factual, but instead was a manipulative and dangerous tactic to deny women access to a constitutional right.
Breyer On The Admitting Requirements
Breyer's majority opinion is full of gems, but here's a great moment when he slams the Texas state government, according to the case brief, available on the SCOTUS blog:
Breyer On The Number Of Clinics In Texas
Breyer laid out the facts on how this bill would adversely affect Texas women's access to medical professionals. The percentage increases he cites underscore the dire consequences of this bill.
Breyer On The Cost of The Requirements
Breyer broke down how much it would have cost small abortion clinics to adhere to the strict surgical requirements of the state. The burden would have been the death knell for the majority of rural clinics. He wrote:
Breyer On Unconstitutionality
Breyer did not stop his argument at the lack of care. He described, in detail, how the Texas bill is not only unjust, but unconstitutional. He wrote, according to the brief:
He summed it all up near the end of his argument.
Ginsburg On Texas' Roadblocks To Healthcare
Ginsburg has long been a proponent of women's health, and her concurring opinion, though short, was strong and ruthless in its criticism of Texas' actions. She wrote, according to the brief:
She went on to write,
Ginsburg's Major Critique
Ginsburg's final blow was swift and unquestionable. She wrote that laws "like H. B. 2 that 'do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,' cannot survive judicial inspection."
This decision is a much-needed victory in the battles for equal access to healthcare and women's rights, but there's more work to be done. The precedent it sets will prevent other states from passing similarly unlawful roadblocks to abortion and women's right to choose.