Conservatives gasped when they heard the news of Justice Scalia’s death. The final stronghold of the true conservative movement, Scalia was a champion of reading the Constitution exactly as it was written.
Choosing not to see it, as some would suggest, as a living, breathing, document, he ruled taking it at face value. If it could’ve come at a more crucial time for abortion rights, not many on either side can imagine. Coming to the forefront on the abortion stage is a case being tried in Texas. Being placed in the hands of the Supreme Court is a decision that many liberals and conservatives alike are waiting for with baited breath.
According to a family law attorney Dallas, just the stepping stone for either a reversal or the strengthening of laws already set before, the controversial new abortion law being debated is expected to be decided upon by June of this year. Resurfacing the same arguments, which were waged over forty years ago, the HB2, being proposed by the Americans United for Life has taken a new twist to heighten anti-abortion tactics.
The new state bill’s angle is taking aim at the safety and health procedures of abortion instead of making it one of morality or “woman’s rights”. Arguing about safety provisions, they are using University data research about the health and safety of abortion clinic’s currently operating in Texas.
The law specifically is targeting the mandate for physicians who perform an abortion to have admitting privileges only at a hospital which is less than thirty miles from the clinic they perform the procedure is located. It also proposes that the clinic meets the same ambulatory surgical center’s standards that require more specialization in complex and post-first trimester abortions.
Insisting that this is more than just a tactic to change the face of abortion rights, Clarke Forsythe Americans United for Life’s chief counsel, is basing the argument on recent health disasters around the nation due to poor standards of care.
Citing a doctor in Philadelphia who was found guilty of murder in 2013 in the deaths of three babies who were born live due to poor regulation of abortion clinics, he believes that the standard of care must be upgraded. To protect both women and children if a baby is found viable during the procedure, standards of care must be forced to change.
Also being cited in the case is the 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart which concluded with a ban on specific late-term abortion procedures due to safety concerns.
Stepping in to oppose the law are researchers for Texas Policy Evaluation Project. Their findings show that if the law is imposed, it will leave millions around Texas without access to proper medical care. The impact on women’s reproductive services would be on such a scale that it could severely alter the abortion rights for women across the state.
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project is not a new entity. The group has been at the forefront of women’s rights legislation in Texas since 2011 when the Texas Legislature slashed the family planning budget by as much as two-thirds.
Beginning a national movement, Daniel Grossman, from the University of California in San Francisco, combined forces when he saw that women who were traveling from Mexico to gain the much-needed health care they couldn’t get in their native land, were being denied the care that they needed. He insists that this is not just about abortion and birth control, but about women’s access to reproductive care such as Pap smears and other necessary preventative health measures.
HB2 isn’t just about fighting against the limitations that these types of proposed bill changes would do to abortion; it is about access for women across the state to get the medical care they need without barriers. Researching the impact that new proposed changes would have on women’s rights and healthcare resources around the state, proponents see an overhaul of healthcare that has not been seen in decades.
Already seeing a decline in the number of health professionals who perform an abortion, increasing wait times for those who need care and other obstacles erected over the past several years, they believe this could put it over the top. They see it as a way of denying women abortion in a backdoor way other than making it illegal. Without Scalia there to stand up, many conservatives believe that their chance at a day in court may have died with his untimely death.