Repro Wrap: Undue Burden, Here We Come and Other News

And away we go! It was always sort of assumed that one of the myriad anti-abortion laws passed since 2011 was going to eventually snake its way up to the Supreme Court, and challenge the idea that state legislatures are allowed to pass restrictions on abortion so long as it doesn’t put an “undue burden” on the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Now, abortion providers in Texas have said they are tired of waiting for that to happen. This week, Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Women’s Health, which has clinics in Texas, has filed a petition requesting that the Supreme Court review HB2, the omnibus Texas law that enforced admitting privileges requirements and ambulatory surgical center requirements that when taken together would force most of the state’s clinics to shutter.

“This case will determine whether Texas can force more than 75% of the State’s abortion clinics to close by enforcing a pair of statutory requirements that serve no valid state interest,” write the clinics in their petition to the court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, filed Thursday,” writes MSNBC’s Irin Carmon. ”They also pointed out that appeals courts are split on the issue, traditional grounds for the Supreme Court to step in.”

WWH is being represented by Center for Reproductive Rights, whose lawyers note that the case doesn’t just affect Texans but states across the country where either similar laws are in place or may be proposed, as well as those states with clinics trying to absorb the overflow of patients from states where access is limited. “The state of Texas, as it was during Roe v. Wade, is at the heart of the battle,” said Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), according to the Texas Observer, which adds, “’It is going to have an enormous impact, not just for Texas, but for women across the nation,’ if the Supreme Court does not rule in abortion providers’ favor, said Northup. ‘Copycat laws around the nation will proliferate.’”

The court will next convene to pick cases in October.

In other news, Texas isn’t the only state with reproductive health advocates filing lawsuits. Ohio abortion providers are suing over new rules regarding transfer agreements that exclude public hospitals. Planned Parenthood in Alabama is filing a suit to stop the state from defunding them in the Medicaid program, following the lead of Louisiana which filed a similar suit last week.

Louisiana justified their own defunding attempt by noting the myriad health providers that women could go to if they couldn’t use a Planned Parenthood. But as the New York Times reports, many sexual health clinics are already overflowing, and the New Orleans and Baton Rogue areas are suffering STI epidemics as a result.

Despite the ongoing political attacks on Planned Parenthood, many every day citizens still support the provider. Even some religious advocates are asking the Catholic church to work with Planned Parenthood to help reduce abortion, rather than wage war on them. The question is, would the Pope approve?

In Missouri, a state lawmaker is trying to get the Columbia abortion clinic closed by demanding that the state University working with them rescind their transfer agreement. And look out, contraceptive coverage fans – a new ruling has allowed March for Life to object to the birth control mandate, and under “moral” opposition rather than “religious” objections. This could start a whole new onslaught of challenges.

Finally, in good news, the Iowa telemed abortion program is going to be allowed to continue unchallenged, a new clinic has opened in Ohio, and the Kansas court has decided not to take up the appeal over the D&E ban on most second trimester abortions, which was blocked by a state judge. Let’s see if that slows down the introduction of new model bans.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mark Vaughan
Mark Vaughan2 years ago

You know what's really bad? I'm a Christian, and I can't stand the thought of living in a Christian state if Texas is the role-model.

Franck R.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni2 years ago


Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thank you

ERIKA S2 years ago


Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni2 years ago


Karen H.
Karen H2 years ago

Cathleen K, you deserve a TON of stars for that. I think you should find a lawmaker willing to put those ideas forward.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing