Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which is currently before the Supreme Court, is the first abortion-related case before the court since 2007, and the ruling holds major significance for women's health in America.
Alexis Lohse experienced firsthand what the Texas law before the court meant to women there. Alexis, a Planned Parenthood patient, advocate, and recent transplant from Texas to Minnesota, shares her experience of diminishing health care access in Texas:
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the case that could permanently shutter the doors of almost all the abortion clinics in Texas and pave the way for the same to happen across the country.
I've been holding my breath about what the Supreme Court will rule in this case, not just because I care deeply about women's access to abortion, but because the law at issue - HB2 - has had such a personal impact on my life.
I moved to Minnesota from Texas just last fall, for graduate school. But I've been a Planned Parenthood patient for more than a decade. I had my first daughter at 24, and as a single mom, Planned Parenthood was a lifeline for me. For nearly seven years, the only medical care I received was at Planned Parenthood - that was the only place I got my blood pressure checked, or got a pap smear, or a breast exam. It mattered to me that Planned Parenthood was there for me to help me take care of my health.
A few years later, I had my second daughter, and decided to go back to school to finish my degree. I was faced with not having a full time job or access to insurance, and again I relied on Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood was there for me and because of that, I was able to make the choice to go back to school, one of my more important life goals. I knew pursuing more education would help me create a better future for me and my kids. There is no question; Planned Parenthood helped me be smart and responsible about my future.
But when Texas politicians passed HB2 in 2013, they not only choked off access to abortion; they decimated access to birth control, to STD testing, and to critical preventive health care for women like me. And depending on how the Supreme Court rules, almost all of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas could be permanently closed. I'm terrified to think what that future would mean for women just like me in Texas, and throughout our nation.
Planned Parenthood has always been there for me, when I needed health care, peace of mind, and the confidence to pursue my dreams. And Planned Parenthood has been there for millions of women like me across the country. For their sake, and for mine, I'm hoping the Supreme Court rules in favor of women's health and rights.
Proud Texan, Planned Parenthood patient, and advocate
Stay tuned for more information on the Supreme Court over the coming months.