A Red Letter Day for Women’s Reproductive Rights Activists

In what is being called a seminal judgment, the Supreme court has rejected two abortion laws in Texas, calling it unconstitutional and an infringement on women’s rights.

The two laws required abortion clinics in Texas to maintain hospital like surgical standards and doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The Texas government argued that the laws were required to protect the health of women. The Supreme court rejected this argument and said that the real intention behind the laws was to make it harder for women to get an abortion in Texas.

It said that there was no point in abortion clinics maintaining hospital like surgical standards because complications in abortions usually occurred after the patient left the clinic and not during the visit.

Women’s rights activists say the ruling will give women rights over their own bodies

The judgment was passed by an 8 member bench of the Supreme court, with 5 members of the bench voting in favor of culling the legislation and 3 voting to maintain status quo. Women’s right activists lauded the judgment, calling it a red letter day for women’s rights everywhere.

Center for Reproductive Rights President, Nancy Northup said that the Supreme court had sent a clear message that the legislature cannot employ deceptive means to clamp down on abortion clinics.

But Greg Abbot, the Texas governor criticized the judgment calling it another instance of judicial overreach that is bound to put innocent lives in danger.

President Obama hailed the ruling and said that the Texas restrictions was dangerous to women’s health  and posed an obstacle in women’s reproductive rights. He said his government was strongly committed to protect women’s health, including access to affordable and safe healthcare and the right of women to determine their own future.

Similar laws in other states come under the scanner after the ruling

The Supreme court ruling is expected to send tremors through all those states which have passed laws mimicking the two Texas legislation.

23 states require abortion clinics to maintain hospital like surgical facilities while 10 more states require doctors conducting abortions to maintain admitting facilities at a nearby hospital. Thanks to such legislation, one of these states, Mississippi has just one abortion clinic in the entire state.

The Supreme court ruling won’t kill all those laws automatically. Each of the laws will have to be challenged individually. This could take many years. But now, the abortion activists have a precedent on their side. They can quote the Supreme court ruling in the Texas case.

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