In a 5-3 decision Monday, the US Supreme Court struck down Texas’ strict abortion regulations that would have closed more than half the clinics in the state. It’s the court’s biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter century. Justice Stephen Breyer’s majority opinion for the court held that the regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman’s right to an abortion. We will have complete coverage of the decision, plus reaction from Texas leaders on Capital Tonight at 7pm.

 

Statements from Texas officials on both sides of the issue have been coming in all morning. We’ve compiled a list of those responses below:

 

Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health: 

“I am beyond elated. Every day Whole Woman’s Health treats our patients with compassion, respect and dignity—and with this historic decision, today the Supreme Court did the same. We’re thrilled that justice was served and our clinics stay open. After years of fighting heartless, anti-abortion Texas politicians who would seemingly stop at nothing to push abortion out of reach, I want everyone to understand: you don’t mess with Texas, you don’t mess with Whole Woman’s Health, and you don’t mess with this beautiful, powerful movement of people dedicated to reproductive health, rights, and justice.

“Three years ago, Texas politicians passed HB 2, a regressive law aimed directly at women who have decided to end a pregnancy and those of us who provide their care. With no legitimate medical justification, politicians forced abortion providers to completely restructure our clinics or to build mini hospitals.  HB 2 forced more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics to close—including several of my own. These closures have put a staggering burden on Texas women.  With this clinic shutdown law, politicians forced Texas women seeking abortion to go to clinics that are further away or in another state; take more days off of work, lose income, find childcare, and arrange and pay for transportation to travel hundreds of miles. For many, the process of obtaining safe and legal health care has become an onerous, grueling feat or just flat out impossible.

“I hold in my heart all those women and families who were forced to forgo care as a result of Texas’ draconian anti-choice laws.

“Today’s decision marks a turnaround for Texas and for our country, but let me be clear: this win doesn’t mean the struggle is over. First, clinics don’t reopen overnight.  We have a daunting task ahead of us to determine whether and how we can reopen our health centers that were forced to shut their doors over the past several years. Renewing leases, hiring staff, and working with the communities that we previously served to help us re- open for care. And second, this decision only addressed two of the many, many restrictions women face to get abortion care in Texas.   Now we must redouble our efforts across the country to end similar state restrictions that push abortion out of reach for too many women. It’s time to pass proactive state laws so a woman has access to quality clinics in her community, can afford abortion, and doesn’t face shame or stigma when she seeks care.

“From day one, Whole Woman’s Health rejected HB 2’s insulting premise and we fought back. We took on the bully politicians.  We have struggled every day since then against anti-choice regressive policies and our opposition’s best efforts to shut us down. And we won.

“Today, we made history and tomorrow, we get back to work so that every woman who seeks abortion services can get the health care she needs with dignity and respect.”

 

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Women’s Caucus Chair Lottie Shackelford, and Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following joint statement:

The Supreme Court made the right decision today by ruling in favor of women’s health and women’s rights. In the forty years since Roe v. Wade, women have had the constitutionally protected right to make their own health care decisions and access to a safe and legal abortion.

“Since then, Republicans have pursued every opportunity in states across the country to undermine those rights and invade women’s privacy. Like so many other similar anti-abortion measures snaking their way through state legislatures, the Texas law struck down today purports to make women’s reproductive health care safer. In reality, the medically unnecessary, intrusive and dubious regulations it contains are so onerous, expensive or impossible to implement that they force health care clinics to close their doors and turn women away. Texas is home to 5.4 million women of reproductive age. In its first year alone, HB2 forced half of the Texas clinics that provided abortion services to close, leaving some women to travel hundreds of miles for the care they need.

“By striking down HB2, the Court has given Texas women and women everywhere a victory in the ongoing fight to protect abortion rights. But we cannot take anything for granted and we must remain vigilant – especially as we head toward Election Day in November. Today’s victory, however, doesn’t change the fact that the American people deserve a fully functioning Supreme Court. Last week the court deadlocked on issues in which the vacant seat on the Court would have made it possible for the independent judicial branch to actually rule on the merits of the case before it. And that took place almost exactly 100 days after President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who is widely recognized as the most qualified jurist to have ever been nominated to the Supreme Court, with Senate Republicans continuing to block his confirmation and those of dozens of other judges to federal benches.

“The ruling also highlights the contrast before voters in this November’s elections. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president­­, is opposed to abortion rights and even said women who get an abortion should be punished. Democrats will continue to stand up for a women’s right to choose. We are poised to nominate a presidential candidate in July who, unlike Trump, will have the temperament and judgment required to lead from the Oval Office, including to carry out the sacred duty to nominate federal judges. We must elect a Democrat as our next president.”

 

Lisa Turner, Lone Star Project State Director:

“Texas Republicans should stop wasting our tax dollars defending disastrous policies and start solving urgent state needs like foster care and public education – start improving lives and stop risking them.  Thankfully the United States Supreme Court sided with women and families over Texas Republicans in striking down their dangerous and overreaching attack on women’s health.”

 

 

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, made the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for Texans’ health and safety. This decision means that the remaining abortion clinics in Texas won’t have to close their doors and paves the way for other clinics to open to meet the needs of underserved communities across the state.

 

“This landmark decision continues the powerful momentum for reproductive rights and against political interference in our right to safe, legal abortion. The fight to protect abortion access does not end today—this is just the first step in dismantling laws that make it harder for people to access the health care they need.”

 

Sen. Kirk Watson

“Today, the women of Texas won. The U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the right to accessible and safe reproductive health care for women. And for that, we have a cavalry of strong Texas women to thank.

For too long, the women of this state have been collateral damage in a political battle. I’m hopeful we can now get to work on policies that truly do protect women’s health, such as improved access to birth control and breast and cervical cancer screenings as well as medically accurate sex education.”

 

Sen. Jose Menendez:

“Today’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court to overturn House Bill 2 is a profound victory for women not just in Texas, but across the country. The 5-3 decision shows that House Bill 2 was never meant to protect women’s health, but rather a ruse to deny access to their constitutional right to an abortion. With this bill overturned, Texas is now a safer, more accessible state for all women.”

 

“The unscrupulous regulations put in place under House Bill 2 had profound consequences in Texas. More than half of the abortion clinics in Texas were shuttered, making it difficult to receive medical care for thousands of Texans. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled I hope these clinics will reopen and provide needed reproductive care.”

 

“Finally, the fight to protect a woman’s right to choose is not over. Today’s ruling marked a major victory for women’s health, but rest assured politicians are already devising the next round of medically unnecessary regulations. We must remain vigilant and stand up for Texas women.” 

 

Rep. Donna Howard:

“Today’s ruling is a triumphant reaffirmation of our reproductive rights.

“This statement from the Supreme Court is a powerful indicator that we need to stop fighting a battle which was decided in Roe v. Wade more than 40 years ago.

“Moving forward, Texas lawmakers should refrain from pushing medically unnecessary policies which erect barriers to a safe and legal medical procedure.  If they do, it is now crystal clear that the courts—and the public—will forcefully stand in their way.

“In the upcoming session, I will be filing proposals to allow for 12-month supplies of birth control pills, provide for a contraceptive benefit through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and continue expanding access to implants and IUDs.

“I hope that my fellow lawmakers will support these and other family planning measures which lead toward our shared goal of reducing the rate of and need for abortion, but do so in a manner which respects women and better ensures their health, safety, and autonomy.”

 

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller:

“This decision is a huge victory for the dignity of women and their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions. But extremists from the Governor’s Office to the state Capitol are already preparing more legislative efforts to deny women their constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion care in Texas. They refused to listen to the experts who said this law was medically unnecessary and to the voices of thousands of women who came to the Capitol three years ago. But the Supreme Court listened to those voices and today honored the constitutional right of women to access abortion care no matter their zip code. This fight continues until our lawmakers trust Texas women and families to make their own decisions about their health care and their future.”

 

 

————————————

 

Governor Greg Abbott:

“The decision erodes States’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost. Texas’ goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.”

 

Attorney General Ken Paxton:

“HB2 was an effort to improve minimum safety standards and ensure capable care for Texas women. It’s exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives.”

 

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick:

“Today’s United States Supreme Court ruling striking down House Bill 2 (HB 2) is a devastating blow to the protection of the health and safety of women in Texas. HB 2 was passed during the 83rd Texas legislative session to ensure the health and safety of women by holding abortion clinics to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers while also requiring practitioners to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility.

Now abortion clinics are free to ignore these basic safety standards and continue practicing under substandard conditions.  By its ruling, the Court held that the ability of abortion clinics to remain open – even under substandard conditions –outweighs the state’s ability to put women’s health and safety first. 

Despite today’s devastating impact on women’s health care, and as the proud author of the sonogram bill and co-writer of HB 2, I remain committed to protecting women’s health and safety.”

 

Sen. John Cornyn:

“Today’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for states like Texas, which the Constitution makes clear should be free to pass laws that are in the best interests of our citizens. Commonsense requirements that abortion clinics be held to the same standards as other medical facilities put the health of the patient first, and today’s decision is a step back in protecting the well-being of mothers across our state.”

 

Sen. Ted Cruz:

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is profoundly disappointing,” Sen. Cruz said. “Texas enacted HB 2’s commonsense health standards to ensure that women receive safe care. 

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court sided with abortion extremists who care more about providing abortion-on-demand than they do protecting women’s health.

“This decision will not silence our fight to protect the most helpless and innocent among us, nor will we cease our efforts to protect women from an abortion industry that prioritizes profit margins over improving the safety and health of Texas women. We will continue to stand resolutely to defend unborn life because we know that every life is a gift from God, and without life there is no liberty.”

 

 

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler:

“With the Supreme Court striking down House Bill 2 this morning, women’s healthcare in the state of Texas was dealt a significant blow. Allowing substandard clinics to remain intact means the Supreme Court chose quantity over quality when it comes to the services provided to Texas women, which is completely unacceptable. The Republican Party of Texas will proudly continue to fight for Texas women’s health.”

 

Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life:

We are very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. The State of Texas will be unable to fully implement HB 2’s common sense regulations to protect the health and safety of women at substandard abortion facilities. Our work to protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion will continue. We will scrutinize this decision, hostile as it is to reasonable safety regulations, to find ways to increase abortion facility safety regulations as much as possible. Even if HB 2 were fully implemented, abortion would remain readily available in Texas. Nine enormous abortion facilities that meet the HB 2 safety standards will continue to operate in the major metropolitan areas — Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio — as well as a free standing abortion facility in McAllen and abortion facilities in New Mexico near to El Paso. The difference is that nine substandard facilities, all located near to these, will continue to operate. We will continue to promote compassionate alternatives to abortion, including adoption, so that no woman seeks abortion because she feels she has no alternative.

 

 

SEN. KONNI BURTON STATEMENT ON WHOLE WOMEN’S HEALTH V. HELLERSTEDT RULING

 

“I am extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today; however, members of the Texas Legislature like myself,

who believe deeply in the value of every human life, will not yield in our efforts to provide the highest quality healthcare for

women and our continued promotion of a culture of life.”