Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Supreme Court Case
The Supreme Court heard arguments on December 1, 2021 in a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans almost all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade, which says laws that ban access to abortions prior to fetal viability are unconstitutional. By taking this case, the Court revisited nearly 50 years of precedent that has protected people’s access to safe and legal abortion. A decision is expected in Spring or Summer of 2022.
Recently, Guttmacher Institute issued a report showing the devastating effects on abortion access that would occur should the U.S. Supreme Court weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade. The report shows a 2,923% increase in out-of-state women of reproductive age who would find their nearest clinic now located in California. This new data shows how dire the country’s sexual and reproductive health care situation is and how damaging policies that restrict access to abortion are to millions of people.
You can help us defend the right to safe, legal abortions by signing Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s “Keep Your Bans Off My Body” petition. You can also join us in calling on the Senate to protect and expand abortion access in Texas, Mississippi, and across the country and to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and Congress to end the Hyde Amendment as soon as possible.
Update on S.B. 8 legal battles
On November 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court began its expedited review of S.B. 8., the harmful Texas law that enacted the most extreme abortion ban in the country. The courts focus will be on reviewing the “unusual way in which the Texas legislature crafted the law.” More specifically, it will review the law’s enforcement policy, which authorizes private citizens—from anywhere in the country—to sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion after 6 weeks gestation. The Court is also reviewing whether the U.S. Justice Department can challenge the law in court. The devastating Texas law will continue to remain in effect until a decision is reached. While an expedited review does not necessarily guarantee a quick decision in the case, in the past, the Court has ruled quickly on such cases.
Planned Parenthood and the Action Fund are continuing to fight back against this extreme, harmful abortion ban and will do everything in our power to ensure every person can access the safe and critical care they need. You can help us fight back against Texas S.B. 8 by signing the petitionin support of abortion access in Texas and the rest of the nation.
Texas S.B. 8 Impact
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 19 statehouses have passed 106 abortion restrictions in just 2021 alone, which is more than any other year. One of the most restrictive laws to go into effect was Texas S.B. 8, which bans abortion as early as six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant.
The impact of the law has been devastating and is disproportionately impacting populations that already face barriers to accessing care—people of color, people with low incomes, immigrants, and young people. And the impact is not just being felt in Texas—patients in neighboring states, like New Mexico and Colorado, are being forced to seek care in other states because of the overflow of patients from Texas into their home states.
End to Harmful Title X Gag Rule
On October 4, 2021, the Biden administration announced the end of the Title X gag rule, which had forced many providers out of the nation’s only federal program dedicated to providing affordable birth control and other reproductive health care to people with low incomes.
The Biden administration’s rule, "Ensuring access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality family planning services," removes the Title X gag rule implemented under the Trump administration and includes updates to Title X family planning regulations. This rule will mean:
No gag rule—the 2019 rules will be rescinded.
A return to nondirective options counseling, including referral for abortion upon request.
Clarification that physical separation between abortion and Title X activities is not necessary to carry out and meet program requirements.
On October 25, 2021, the State of Ohio filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Ohio to challenge the Biden administration’s end to the Title X gag rule. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia joined the lawsuit as well, claiming that the Biden Administration’s rescinding of the gag rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act. According to the lawsuit, the new rule violates the law by failing to require “meaningful” financial and physical separation between abortion and Title X activities and by requiring program participants to refer patients for abortion upon request.
For now, the gag rule is rescinded and providers can re-enter Title X and provide patients with the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care they deserve. Though the harms from the last two years can never truly be undone, we are on our way to restoring access to sexual and reproductive health care for millions, and making the Title X program work better for patients and the providers who serve them.
Marches for Reproductive Rights
On October 2, 2021, reproductive rights advocates around the country participated in hundreds of rallies in support of abortion rights. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest was proud to participate in several Marches for Reproductive Rights across our three-county region. At events in Downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, and Riverside, our affiliate joined community members and supporters in solidarity for reproductive rights and abortion justice.
In Downtown San Diego, our very own CEO was a speaker, check out Darrah’s speech here!