In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Supreme Court Rightly Upholds Women’s Constitutional Rights

June 27, 2016

Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, U.S. Supreme Court Rightly Upholds Women’s Constitutional Rights

WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center applauds the 5-3 decision announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Texas law, HB2, that severely restricted a woman’s constitutional right and ability—no matter where she lives—to make her own decisions about her health, family, and future.

The court found in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that HB2, which forced the shutdown of more than half of the abortion clinics in the state, infringed upon a woman’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights. The decision means that the clinics that remained open after the law was enacted will be able to stay open and others can resume services to meet the health needs of women in the many underserved areas of the state.

More broadly, the court established a strong legal standard that will protect women’s constitutional rights in states beyond Texas.

The following is a statement by Marielena Hincapié, NILC’s executive director:

“The Supreme Court rightly struck down a law that unlawfully interfered in a women’s right to make her own health decisions. By removing needless barriers, the Court has affirmed that all women, regardless of where they live, have the right to be treated with the same compassion, respect, and dignity as anyone else.

“In March 2015, I had the honor of serving as a human rights commissioner during the Nuestro Texas Women’s Human Rights Hearing—organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health—and met courageous and resilient women who spoke of unconscionable barriers to their reproductive health, including accessing critical preventive care such as cervical and breast cancer screenings. I also had the opportunity to visit Whole Women’s Health and witnessed first-hand how empowering and necessary their services are for low-income immigrant women in the Rio Grande Valley.

“The Texas law was especially harmful to Latinas of reproductive age who already face significant barriers to accessing health services, including poverty, immigration status, distance, inability to take time off from work, and lack of child care. Even before enacting HB2, the state gutted public family planning services that many Latinas depended on for contraception and other reproductive health services.

“Policymakers and advocates alike know that much more needs to be done to ensure that all women have access to meaningful, quality care. Today’s decision helps prevent a dangerous erosion of health access that could have made efforts to create truly healthy communities difficult, if not impossible.”

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