Our SCOTUS Briefing
These two Supreme Court cases could have serious consequences on the state of women’s reproductive healthcare. NOW-NYC is committed more than ever to safeguarding women’s choice and access to healthcare.
This is the most pivotal abortion case in decades.
On March 2, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Here’s what you need to know:
The law in question is Texas’ HB2, which enacts onerous and unnecessary requirements for abortion providers: restrictions that have forced a majority of clinics in the state to close their doors.
If HB2 is upheld, the Center for Reproductive Rights notes, “these requirements would shutter all but 9 or 10 abortion clinics in a state with 5.4 million women of reproductive age, and leave more than 500 miles between San Antonio and the New Mexico border without a single clinic.”
A decision in favor of HB2 could be devastating to women: it would open the floodgates to extreme restrictions on abortion clinics, ultimately resulting in the shuttering of clinics and the reduction of access to abortion nationwide.
Justice Anthony Kennedy is the likely swing vote in this case, and the outcome largely depends on his decision. A 4-4 tie (now possible) will let HB2 stand. The three female justices did not hold back in their questioning while hearing oral arguments on Tuesday, and took a defiant stand to uncover the fact that there is simply no legitimate medical evidence supporting HB2’s restrictions. In the days leading up to Tuesday’s oral arguments, many women courageously shared their stories about their abortions and how the right to a safe and legal abortion changed their lives for the better.
Participate in the conversation with the hashtags #WeWontGoBack and #StopTheSham.
Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell
In this case, RH Reality Check says the Court returns to the ACA’s birth control benefit and the question of whether the government’s process for allowing religiously affiliated nonprofits to opt out from providing health insurance plans that offer contraception is too burdensome under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The Court consolidated seven cases filed by hospitals, nursing homes, and other kinds of businesses that are religiously run and affiliated; all object to filling out the opt-out form. A ruling that would allow these nonprofits to be exempted from the coverage would have enormous implications, as 10 percent of larger nonprofits have asked the Obama administration for an accommodation to the rule already. A group of 240 students, staff and faculty from religiously affiliated universities recently signed on to an amicus brief submitted to the court in response to Zubik v. Burwell, another of the cases consolidated into this group of objections to the opt-out form. The Court is expected to hear oral arguments for these cases on March 23rd.
Image credit: The New York Times