Reproductive Rights Groups Sue Over Texas Abortion Restrictions

“These restrictions aren’t based in health and safety, and they don’t advance women’s health in Texas.”

By Jill AmentJune 15, 2018 7:07 am,

A group of women’s clinics called Whole Woman’s Health Alliance and six nonprofits providing abortion-related services says that Texas’ restrictions on abortion availability violate women’s due process rights under the Constitution. They filed suit in federal court on Thursday against state officials, citing Texas’ licensing, parental notification, waiting period, ultrasound and other requirements.

Amy Hagstrom Miller is the founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which is leading this court challenge. She says a 2016 case her group won at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 paved the way for the new suit.

“In the majority decision…a new standard was set, where the Supreme Court says that the government needs to be able to prove any restrictions that they put on women’s access to abortion are backed up by scientific fact and medical evidence,” Hagstrom Miller says.

Hagstrom Miller said her group analyzed all of Texas’ existing abortion restrictions to determine which ones could be challenged, based on the 2016 ruling.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to challenge these laws under that same Supreme Court standard, and shed light on the fact that these restrictions aren’t based in health and safety, and they don’t advance women’s health in Texas,” she says.

The lawsuit doesn’t take aim at the ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Hagstrom Miller says the current challenge is “only the beginning.” She also wants to challenge the state’s ban on insurance that covers abortion procedures.

“This doesn’t mean we’ll never challenge these things, it’s just a strategy with this case,” Hagstrom Miller says. “We are challenging the ban on abortion at 16 weeks in a clinic setting.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton said the restrictions Whole Woman’s Health is challenging are “common sense measures that protect women’s lives and reproductive health.”

Written by Shelly Brisbin.