American Journal of Law & Medicine

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Regulations; Texas Bill Found Unconstitutional

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Regulations; Texas Bill Found Unconstitutional--In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of two provisions of Texas' House Bill 2. (1) Texas passed the bill in 2013 amid significant controversy, most notably when State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for over eleven hours. (2) Governor Rick Perry then called a second special session of the state legislature in his effort to make abortion "a thing of the past," or to at least impose more safety restrictions on abortion providers. (3) Many other states had passed similar restrictions, often referred to as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws, which were all struck down by this ruling. (4) The first provision required that any physician performing an abortion, "have active admitting privileges at a hospital... located not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is induced...." (5) Previously, Texas required facilities to have a written protocol describing what to do in the event of a medical emergency and a working arrangement with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital. (6) The second provision required "the minimum standards for an abortion facility [to] be equivalent to the minimum standards... for ambulatory surgical centers." (7) Texas abortion providers opposed both of these provisions, claiming they violated the Fourteenth Amendment under the Casey standard. …

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