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On Jan. 5, 2016, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its Texas affiliates submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court calling on it to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion and strike down the Texas abortion restrictions before the Court.

“Texas paints a grim picture of what would become a reality for many women across the country if the Court upholds this clinic shutdown law. On behalf of the patients who rely on us, we are calling on the Court to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion and strike down this ruthless law,” stated Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Restrictions Would Have Devastating Impact

The devastating impact to Texas women that these restrictions would have if the Court does not strike them down was immediately clear when they went into effect for nearly two weeks in October 2014: 

  • Overnight, a dozen providers were forced to shutter operations.
  • Planned Parenthood was inundated with desperate phone calls
  • Women lined up outside health center doors.

If upheld, the 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age would be reduced to having only 10 health centers able to provide safe, legal abortions across the entire state, down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law

“As a health care provider, we have seen the dire consequences for women when access to abortion is restricted — with women traveling hundreds of miles, delaying care, or going without it at all. The stakes for women in this case cannot be overstated: The fundamental right to access safe, legal abortion is on the docket,” Richards said.

Abortion Access in Texas Today

Researchers in Texas found that up to 240,000 Texas women may have attempted to end a pregnancy on their own, without medical assistance.

Research in Texas also determined that existing abortion restrictions have delayed procedures for women by up to 20 days, and threaten to nearly double the percentage of abortions in the second trimester. 

While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it is safest earlier in pregnancy.

The Case Before the Court

In November 2015, the Supreme Court announced it would review a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding restrictions that threaten to block access to safe, legal abortion in Texas. Planned Parenthood’s submitted amicus brief to the Court urges a decision striking down the devastating restrictions.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, TRAP, Abortion restrictions

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