- REUTERS/Mario Anzuon
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg slammed a Texas law that restricted women’s access to abortions, concurring with the majority opinion to strike down the law.
The authors of the law, House Bill 2 or HB2, say it was designed to protect the safety of women by requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of “ambulatory surgical centers,” or hospital facilities that can accommodate low-risk surgery. It also mandated that abortion doctors have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.
But, as Ginsburg pointed out in her opinion, far more dangerous procedures – like childbirth – aren’t subject to these kinds of restrictions.
“Given those realities, it is beyond rational belief that H.B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions,'” she wrote.
She also pointed out the likelihood of women resorting to unsafe procedures when they are unable to have a safe abortion. HB2 would have caused the majority of Texas’ abortion clinics to close, leaving some women in rural areas hundreds of miles away from a clinic.
“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety,” she wrote.
Ginsburg concurred with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer, who authored the majority opinion. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, dissented.