Texas’s HB2 went down in flames today.
At issue in the case were two stringent regulations adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2013. One required doctors who perform an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The state’s lawyers said the rule ensures that doctors are “qualified,” and that it “promotes continuity of care” if an emergency arises. Abortion-rights advocates said hospitals often refuse to extend privileges to these doctors because of the controversy over abortion and because very few of their patients will be admitted to a hospital.
The other disputed rule would require all abortions, even those within the first weeks of a pregnancy, be performed in a facility meeting the standards of an outpatient surgical center. The state said this would help ensure “a sterile operating environment” for surgery, but clinic directors say the extra space and equipment is costly and unneeded.
These are known as TRAP laws, which stands for “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.” The general idea is pretending to care about the health and safety of abortion patients and legislating requirements that clinics cannot possibly meet, thus putting them out of business and thereby endangering the health and safety of abortion patients.
“We conclude that neither of these provisions [on admitting privileges and surgical center requirements] offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” said Justice Stephen Breyer for the majority. “Each places substantial obstacles in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.”
He was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan
What a coincidence that all three women on the court recognized that women are people! AMAZING AMIRITE.
In dissent were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Medical experts told the court that dental surgery, colonoscopies and other medical procedures commonly take place in doctors’ offices, not in surgical centers. Moreover, they say early abortions are safe and simple. The rule extends to women who take medication to induce an early abortion. The new law “requires those tablets be swallowed in a multi-million dollar surgical facility,” clinic directors told the court.
Texas had no reported deaths from abortions in the five years prior to the enactment of the new law in 2013.
Nevertheless, this non-problem was obviously such an urgent threat that the Texas legislature convened two special sessions to pass the law.
Now it is worth remembering that Justice Kennedy is a capricious motherfucker who cannot be trusted on this issue by either the Forced Birth Brigades, or by those who are under the impression that women are people. I don’t think it’s ideological with him; I think he’s a typical privileged twit who just isn’t a very clear and consistent thinker, and like
most all conservatives he is unprincipled and easily swayed by sloppy arguments when they pack the right emotional punch.
But there is no denying that Kennedy did us a solid today. If it had been a 4-4 decision instead, the 5th Circuit court decision would have been upheld and the law would stand.
I will not be reading the dissent today, because it is too rare a joy to celebrate the ignominious defeat of monstrous conservatives, their patronizing lies, twisted logic and cruel policies. I’m afraid they’ll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with some other novel way to enslave, maim and kill women—and no doubt Roberts, Thomas and/or Alito just gave them the road map to do it.
It is also worth noting that there are a disproportionate number of Texans residing in my Abattoir, including all of the sponsors of HB2, three past or present Republican governors of the state and the two Fifth Circuit Court judges who overturned the lower court and upheld the law as constitutional. Roberts, Thomas and Alito will join them all soon enough. Today is a day for happy dancing, and collecting warm conservative tears to fuel us for the fight ahead.
My pool isn’t just going to fill itself, people.
Have a nice day.
You’ve got “forth” birthers in your title.
At any rate, congrats Texas for remembering what year we live in! And a big relief for Texan women, I’m sure.
Anne, Cranky Cat Lady says
Thank you, Supremes, for getting this one right.
Thanks Siobhan! FIXED. Lately I’ve been the undisputed champion of typos.
Raucous Indignation says
I can’t believe the Supremes listened to a bunch of doctors.
Now we can use Scalia as a cheap power source while he spins in his grave!
Whew! It’s about time. “Conservatives” have spent so much time and effort cramming small government into the uterus, I thought it would burst. This should take some of the pressure off. But how would this ruling affect *TRIPE laws? Physicians dispensing Viagra pills need to have admitting privileges to a local emergency room and have fully equipped surgical facilities in order to adequately protect their male patients. And we’re still waiting for waiting periods!
*Totally Reasonable Impediments to Penis Enhancers
Quite. Tens of thousands of Texas women have already taken matters into their own hands. This recent New York Times op-ed recounts the story of a pregnant Texas woman diagnosed at 16 weeks with a tragically malformed fetus. The wait times had grown so long as a result of all the clinic closures that it would push her past 20 weeks—after which almost all abortions are illegal in Texas. Then she found an appointment sooner, but the whole ordeal would take over four days to complete. So she flew to Florida instead, and had the procedure the next day. The whole thing cost her almost $5,000. How many people have that kind of money?
Tellingly, she wrote this:
*smh* The telltale mark of the conservative: a Texas woman of reproductive age not giving one single shit, not even being aware of the effects of these draconian laws on women across her home state, until it affects her directly and personally. It just goes to show how much we have our work cut out for us: men indisputably have more power, and yet abortion will never, ever affect them directly and personally.
Anne, Cranky Cat Lady:
The liberal bloc—the three women, plus Breyer—could pretty much be counted on to get it right. (I think if she were still on the court, even Sanda Day O’Connor, a Reagan appointee, would likely have sided with the libs here.) This decision really did come down to a coin toss with Kennedy. As I said, he is unpredictable, unprincipled and inconsistent, especially on this issue. I feel more like *whew!* than grateful to the d00d, but hey, I’ll take it.
Well the usual suspects didn’t, and of course if Scalia were still here we can predict with 100% certainty that he wouldn’t have either. The liberal bloc did, and I suspect that Kennedy then listened to them.
tbtabby: Yeah about that… after my lifelong dream of personally mooning Antonin Scalia was tragically crushed by his demise, I took it upon myself to exhume his corpse and mount it to the wall in my dressing room where I now moon it daily. I really feel it works as a statement piece, and adds a nice counterpoint to all the dead squirrels.
thebookofdave: EXACTLY MY CONCERN. Those life-threatening 4-hour boners aren’t going to cure themselves, now are they. I suggest at the very minimum enacting mandatory 3-day waiting periods, as well as invasive and totally unnecessary utrasounds before they can be treated. Those are apparently perfectly reasonable impediments imposing no undue burden whatsoever upon those seeking access to time-sensitive health care. Won’t someone think of the men?!
I haven’t read the dissents yet, but I hope to today. If I find anything mockworthy (that hasn’t been mocked a thousand times before), I’ll probably write about it.
Raucous Indignation says
The Supremes are having quite the season! Did you see this?
I received my HOT CONSERVATIVE TEARS mug today just in time to celebrate!
Raucous Indignation says
I’ve read that most Supreme Court justices move to the left as they age. Could that be happening to Kennedy? And is that even really true? Or are they all in general so hidebound that they won’t move left until society as a whole has already done so?
So glad they made this decision. I cannot imagine how many women needed this SCOTUS ruling.
chigau (違う) says
I am back to a semblance of civilization.
At the place I was at, I couldn’t view this post.
I think it was just too big, what with all them giffy things.
I see it now and ♥ it.
That place I was at wouldn’t let me see “oglaf” because it had ‘profanity’.