Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What to know about the Texas abortion dispute before the Supreme Court

The scene in Texas just prior to a late-term abortion. In what is believed to be the first abortion case decided by the Supreme Court since it said the decision of whether to end a pregnancy depends on the “relevant state law,” left untouched by the deeply divided court, lawyers argue over whether Texas’ tough new regulations on the clinic must be upheld under the U.S. Constitution. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

I spoke to Catherine McClure, the senior counsel who filed a brief for the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth.

McClure explained that while new laws limiting abortion rights have been filed in all 50 states, so far three-quarters of the challenges have come from the South and West. Texas is the third-largest state in the nation, and the only abortion law in the country that targets procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Your briefs were focused on whether the state of Texas can institute a new law, which requires abortion facilities to meet a set of regulations so strict that there would be an unachievable and disproportionate level of restrictions on abortion. How does the current law impact women?

Catherine Mclure: The primary concern we’ve raised is that for women that have prolonged pregnancies, like many Texas women, who are dealing with nausea, or are going to be with their children, who are going to be sick—having to get a second opinion at clinics is going to be hugely difficult. In 2016, we launched our challenge to the law and in that case, we didn’t have an emergency issue with the timing of the first trimester but we did have an emergency issue with the 14th week of pregnancy. If this were to take effect in 2020, that would mean women who were planning to have an abortion in the 14th week of pregnancy would have to do so in the first trimester of that year.

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