Appeals Court to Consider Challenge to Extreme Anti-Abortion Law in Texas

January 7, 2015

In anticipation of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s hearing on Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey, the second legal challenge to Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, House Bill 2 (HB 2), seven groups—ACLU of Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Research Institute, and Whole Woman’s Health—have joined together in opposition to HB 2, uniting in the fight to protect access to safe and legal abortion care in Texas. Representatives from ACLU of Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, NLIRH and Whole Woman’s Health will be present at today’s hearing in New Orleans.

ACLU of Texas, Terri Burke, Executive Director: “Extremist politicians passed HB 2 to shut down health care clinics and prevent women from getting abortions. We hope the Fifth Circuit will reverse course and listen to doctors, medical experts, and major medical associations, who have recognized that laws like HB2 hurt women, not help them. Shutting down quality health care providers doesn’t make women safer, it puts women at greater risk.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Heather Busby, Executive Director: “If the 5th Circuit upholds HB 2, fewer than 10 clinics will remain and more than one million Texas women of reproductive age will have to travel over 100 miles to the nearest Texas provider. These are real people whose lives will be affected, real people who will face harm. Your zip code should not determine whether or not you can access essential health care. Without access, Texans do not have a choice about their reproductive health care.”

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Ana DeFrates, Texas Policy & Advocacy Director: “Latina women in Texas are mobilized and galvanized to fight the devastating effects of this unconstitutional attack on women’s health care. Nearly 40 percent of Texas women are Latina, and Latinas are twice as likely to experience unintended pregnancies as non-Latina white women and more likely to be of reproductive age. Latinas already face formidable barriers to healthcare, including: poverty, lack of transportation, linguistic and cultural barriers, and restrictions on health care for immigrant women. If HB2 is allowed to stand, Texas Latinas are among those with the most to lose. For these reasons, Texas Latinas will be watching.”

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director: “Planned Parenthood has witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by HB 2. When clinics all over the state closed in October, our phone lines were jammed and our wait rooms were packed with women desperate to reschedule appointments. Texans have seen the tremendous harm caused by this bill and will not stand for further decimation of access to health care. Over this upcoming legislative session, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will mobilize our supporters so that all politicians know that they need to step out of the exam room. The people of Texas support access to safe and legal abortion and will be making their voices heard.”

Texas Freedom Network, Kathy Miller, President: “We work closely with young people across the state and know they are intensely interested in what this court will do about a law that’s real purpose is to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion care in Texas. Make no mistake: young people know that the future of reproductive freedom and their health care is on the line. And they’re tired of politicians pushing sham laws that are really just an unconstitutional, backdoor ban on abortion.”

Whole Woman’s Health, Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder, President and CEO: “I am proud to stand with all of you as we do the right thing and challenge bad laws like this one. We are standing on the right side of history. The closing of our Texas clinics will have an immediate impact on women and their families with only a handful of clinics left to serve the more than 13 million women currently living in the state. It’s unimaginable to think about denying any of these women the right to make the personal decision about whether or not to become a parent, but it’s unconscionable that those who will bear the burden most are poor women and young women.”