Friday, July 26, 2013

Passage of Texas Anti-Choice Bill Causes Immediate Damage

If any more proof is needed that House Bill 2, passed in Texas last Thursday, is destructive, look no further. The anti-choice law is already taking a toll on Texas residents' access to reproductive healthcare. According to the Huffington Post, three Planned Parenthood clinics in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin, Texas will soon close due to the drastic regulations enforced by the law. Among other things, the law mandates that reproductive healthcare clinics meet standards for surgical centers – whether or not the clinic provides abortion care. It also places a 20-week post-fertilization ban on state-wide abortion care.

Ironically, as concerned as conservative Texas legislators are with abortion access, only one of the three clinics that will close actually offered abortion services. That means that, in the case of the other two clinics, state law is denying Texas residents access to affordable basic preventative care, like cancer screenings, PAP smears and STI testing. Those in support of the measures, and by proxy, in support of shutting down clinics that provide basic healthcare, claim its passage was for the health of Texas women.

“This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women,” Gov. Rick Perry said. Needless to say, potentially shutting down all but five of the state's clinics and restricting access to these services is anything but pro-life.

Is there any immediate hope of reversing the measure? Maybe. Pro-choice groups intend to argue that the law violates Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), which established that states cannot restrict abortion care before viability. Of all anti-choice measures passed in recent years, Slate predicts that this particular law has a shot at eventually being catapulted to the Supreme Court. There's no telling whether it will, or whether this will have an effect on similar measures passed across the country, but it is clear that reproductive justice advocates will not retreat at this assault on choice.

Kai Niezgoda, NOW Intern

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