Abortion providers across Texas filed a lawsuit in federal court today, challenging a slew of “burdensome” laws that have made legal abortions harder to obtain in the state.
The plaintiffs say the U.S. Supreme Court's Whole Woman's Health decision in 2016 made a lot of these laws unconstitutional. The decision created a higher bar for abortion restrictions, saying laws must be rooted in science.
“The path for us was created by the strong standard that was achieved with the Whole Woman’s Health decision,” the group's founder and CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller, said during a press call today. “We were able to set a standard that said a state cannot insert itself between a person and their right to exercise access to an abortion without supporting any health restrictions with scientific fact and medical evidence.”
According to a press release from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, the suit challenges restrictions that fall into five categories: targeted regulation of abortion provider laws; laws that deny patients the "benefits of scientific progress"; restrictions that "shame and punish" those seeking abortions; forced parental involvement laws; and laws that threaten abortion providers with arrest or jail for providing care.
“We are here in solidarity ... to make sure women can get the health care they deserve,” Hagstrom Miller said.
In addition to Whole Woman’s Health, the plaintiffs include Fund Texas Choice, the Lilith Fund, North Texas Equal Access Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund and Dr. Bhavik Kumar.
The lawsuit names Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, officials with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Medical Board, the UT System and the Travis County Attorney.
According to the NARAL press release, the UT System was included because of its "refusal to grant students credit for completing field placements or internships with organizations that facilitate abortion access."
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.