Amy Hagstrom Miller: Today, We Made History

I am beyond elated. Every day Whole Woman’s Health treats our patients with compassion, respect and dignity – and with this historic decision, today the Supreme Court did the same. We’re thrilled that justice was served and our clinics stay open.

After years of fighting heartless, anti-abortion Texas politicians who would seemingly stop at nothing to push abortion out of reach, I want everyone to understand: you don’t mess with Texas, you don’t mess with Whole Woman’s health, and you don’t mess with this beautiful, powerful movement of people dedicated to reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Three years ago, Texas politicians passed HB 2, a regressive law aimed directly at women who have decided to end a pregnancy and those of us who provide their care. With no legitimate medical justification, politicians forced abortion providers to completely restructure our clinics or to build mini hospitals. HB 2 forced more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics to close – including several of my own. Click here to help us keep clinics open.

These closures have put a staggering burden on Texas women. With this clinic shutdown law, politicians forced Texas women seeking abortion to go to clinics that are further away or in another state; take more days off of work, lose income, find childcare, and arrange and pay for transportation to travel hundreds of miles. For many, the process of obtaining safe and legal health care has become an onerous, grueling feat or just flat out impossible.

I hold in my heart all those women and families who were forced to forgo care as a result of Texas’ draconian anti-choice laws.

Today’s decision marks a turnaround for Texas and for our country, but let me be clear: this win doesn’t mean the struggle is over. First, clinics don’t reopen overnight. We have a daunting task ahead of us to determine whether and how we can reopen our health centers that were forced to shut their doors over the past several years. Renewing leases, hiring staff, and working with communities that we previously served to help us re-open for care.

And second, this decision only addressed two of the many, many restrictions women face to get abortion care in Texas. Now we must redouble our efforts across the country to end similar state restrictions that push abortion out of reach for too many women. It’s time to pass proactive state laws so a woman has access to quality clinics in her community, can afford abortion, and doesn’t face shame or stigma when she seeks care.

From day one, Whole Woman’s Health rejected HB 2’s insulting premise and we fought back. We took on the bully politicians. We have struggled every day since then against anti-choice, regressive policies and our opposition’s best efforts to shut us down.

And we won.

I am proud to continue providing holistic and high-quality care not only in Texas, but also in Maryland, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Illinois. Today, we made history and tomorrow, we get back to work so that every woman who seeks abortion services can get the health care she needs with dignity and respect.

 

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Waiting for SCOTUS: Ten memorable moments in the fight against HB2

It’s official: Monday morning we will get an answer from the Supreme Court regarding our fight against the Texas omnibus HB2 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. We have been in this for three years now, ever since Wendy Davis made her historic filibuster. Now, years of small victories and devastating clinic closures are coming to some kind of an end that only Monday will tell.

Continue on to read some of our favorite moments along this journey, as we count down to the final announcement.

#10. When the ACLU of Texas accused the state of hiding evidence showing the real impact of HB2 

This happened just recently, but still deserves a spot on the list. The entire premise of the omnibus HB2, at least in the verbiage of Texas officials, was to protect ‘women’s health and safety.’ Well, the data has been collected and where is it? Have you seen it? No, and neither have we.

From the ACLU:

“The State of Texas claims that HB2 protects women’s health. If that’s true, why wouldn’t our public health agency want to trumpet its success?”

Good question.

#9 – We launched Shift., our non profit dedicated to fighting abortion stigma!

We have long touted that abortion stigma is what creates the climate for anti-choice laws to thrive. The silence and shame make room for public discourse that is harmful, full of fear, and simply untrue. Providing compassionate abortion care free of stigma has always been a cornerstone of our work at Whole Woman’s Health, and so it only made sense to expand that into a new non profit, Shift., that was launched in the spring of 2015.

 

We are proud of the work Shift. has done in just over a year – from implementing a Safe Abortion hotline for people seeking clarity on the laws and options, to a beautiful mural covering the exterior wall of Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen. Now, Shift. is looking forward and working to keep Texas clinics open, regardless of the SCOTUS outcome. Click here to help.

#8 – John Oliver’s amazing takedown of TRAP Laws

It pretty much made our year to hear our story being told in that delightful British accent. You can watch it again here:

#7 – The Truth Tour

Kicking off this past January, on the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, we embarked on a multi-city #FightBackTX Truth Tour to rally with Texas communities and remind ourselves that this is a journey that started in Texas. We were in excellent company – joined by coalition partners from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Shift., ACLU of Texas, as well as Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, Clinic Access Support Network, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, West Fund, URGE, and more!

Over the course of those 2,000 miles, we watched students boldly perform the abortion stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign’s Out of Silence on the quad at Texas A&M. We marched down Main Street in McAllen yelling ‘BASTA!’, and we opened up our San Antonio clinic so local and national media could experience what expensive, stigmatizing, and unnecessary regulations actually looked like.

 

#6 – Listening to our physicians open up and advocate for abortion access

We don’t know a single person who works in abortion care for the paycheck. This is not a job for people who just want to punch in and out. We receive gratitude and thanks from the patients we serve and threats from people who want to make abortion illegal. Our physicians not excluded. We have been moved by their courage in coming forward and speaking openly about their work as abortion providers and are honored to work by their side.

That was my foundation: if there are no abortion providers, what’s going to happen to the women that need to access this health care, if people like me aren’t around? I’m not the only abortion provider in Texas, but there’s a small number of us, and I worried when I was in med school, if I don’t come back, who is going to provide abortions in Texas?

– Dr. Bhavik Kumar, The Texas Observer

 

Here’s where [HB2]’s intentional unworkability kicks in. To keep admitting privileges, I would have to admit a certain number of patients to the hospital. But abortion in the vast majority of cases is a simple and safe procedure, and very few patients ever require follow-up or emergency care afterward. So because the vast majority of my patients never needed follow-up care, I lost my privileges.

– Dr. Timothy Spurrell, Time

#5 – The Amicus Briefs

The Amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ briefs, are an opportunity for people to speak on behalf of us and our case, to paint for the court a full picture of the impact of these laws. The amicus briefs submitted by the Center for Reproductive Rights are some of the largest in number and breadth in the history of the Supreme Court. There are personal stories that that brought us to tears – experiences from doctors and lawyers and advocates from across the country. There are submissions from organizations we admire as well as from blue states and cities and policy makers.

These briefs are a passionate reminder that we are on the side of justice and autonomy and that this decision will have deeply personal and wide scale implications.

Click here to read the briefs.

#4 – TRAPPED

To have our struggles against these laws documented (by an amazing filmmaker, no less) and then to see them play out on the silver screen along with our colleagues throughout the South is indescribable. Yes, there were many, many tears, and we definitely experienced all the feels.

So often it seems like our efforts to stay open, to be there for our patients are invisible to those outside of abortion care. We hear it so often: ‘I had no idea this was happening until I became pregnant.’ Dawn Porter’s Trapped is a beautiful and moving answer to this problem. It has received glowing reviews from across the country, including winning the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, Trapped aired on PBS’ Independent Lens. You can stream the full film here.

#3 – The Rally at the Supreme Court

On the particularly chilly morning of March 2nd, we stood outside of the Supreme Court with thousands of allies and supporters, listening to stories from across the country. Yes it would have been amazing to gaze upon the glory that is RBG, but the Rally at the Supreme Court to Protect Abortion Access was an experience of a lifetime and definitely worth the trip.

 

#2 – The Oral Arguments

But also let’s be real – most of us would have given just about anything to have watched the Justices duke it out over abortion rights. And, according to the transcript and audio recordings, it was goooooooooood.

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#1 – Wendy Davis. The People’s Filibuster. The Orange Army. #FightBackTX.

This is where it started. Two special sessions. Two filibusters. A nationally trending hashtag. Those pink Mizunos. State officials said that they’ve never seen anything like it in all their time working at the Capitol.

These sessions brought new life and new faces to our movement, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without everyone who dropped what they were doing, put on their orange, and flooded the Capitol in outrage. You did this! You showed up. You fought back. And you ushered us to the Supreme Court.

Relive it again:

 

 

 

 

 

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Honorary mentions go to the SCOTUS Blog, where we will forever be #waitingforlyle, and decision day GIFs.

What do you think? Did we get it right? Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Statement from Amy Hagstrom Miller: “Today, my heart is filled with hope”

Hello, My name is Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health. We are the lead plaintiff in this case. I own and operate 8 high quality independent abortion care clinics in 5 states – Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Maryland.

Today is an exciting day for Whole Woman’s Health. We have been fighting this draconian law since 2013. After a series of appeals and emergency injunctions, here we are today, having heard from the highest court of the land that they will hear our case. I want to thank the Center for Reproductive Rights for continuing to partner with our organization in our continued fight to stand up for the reproductive rights for the women of Texas.

Today, my heart is filled with hope. Although this is the first step in a much longer process, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the rights that have been in place for four decades and reaffirm that every woman should be able to make her own decision about continuing or ending a pregnancy. I have hope for my staff members, who, for years, have poured themselves into providing Texas women with high-quality and comprehensive reproductive health care. And most of all, I have hope for the families and communities all across Texas who now may be able to get the safe and comprehensive care they need from a clinic they trust.

This law is causing real harm to women across the state of Texas, and has been since 2013 – it’s creating higher costs, longer delays, and extra steps for women seeking abortion care, and in the process punishing women for their decision to exercise their constitutional right to end a pregnancy. A woman should be able to access the safe and legal abortion services she needs regardless of her zip code.

By forcing clinics to close, Texas legislators have multiplied the barriers women face when they need an abortion. Texas women are forced to go to multiple and unnecessary visits at clinics that are now farther away, take more days off of work, losing income, find childcare, and arrange and pay for transportation for hundreds of miles. For many women, the process of obtaining safe and legal health care has simply become unfeasible. No one should be denied safe and compassionate care based on her zip code, but that’s exactly what this law does. Legislators are effectively forcing these women to carry their pregnancies to term against their will.

Take for example a woman from Lubbock. Prior to HB 2, her community had a clinic. With the enactment of HB 2, she faced a 230 mile, 4.5 hour trip – EACH WAY – just to get a first trimester abortion. She was a working, single mother of 3 without healthcare. She faced layers of barriers – including find gas money for the drive and child care for the day she would be away. In the end she was pushed into the later second trimester and finally was unable to obtain the abortion she wanted.

Or take for another example a woman who visited our McAllen clinic on the Texas-Mexico border. Unfortunately she was scheduled for an appointment the day after HB 2 first went into effect. After HB 2 her appointment was immediately canceled. She was devastated by the absurdity of this law – noting immediately that if she had come just yesterday the same MD and staff would have been able to help her. She reached out to our hotline and said: “I will terminate this pregnancy. So how about I tell you what I have in my cupboards, under my sink and in my medicine cabinet and you tell me what to use and how to use it in order to do my own abortion.”

It’s stunning to hear stories like these, but that is exactly what is at stake. If the Supreme Court does not stop this deceptive, politically driven law we will hear more stories like these.

In 2003, Whole Woman’s Health made a commitment to provide quality and holistic reproductive health care in Texas. This is a commitment we intend to keep. To the women of Texas: Now, more than ever, we are here for you. We have been betrayed by legislators and vilified by anti-choice extremists, but we are still here for you, and are confident that justice will be on our side.  We are honored to stand up for Texas women and families and bring this case to the highest court in the land.

Amy Hagstrom Miller
President & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health

Whole Woman’s Health Takes Texas to Court over HB 2.

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(Photo via Austin Chronicle).

The trial in our second challenge to Texas’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions will begin at 9AM CT (10AM EST) on Monday, August 4, 2014 in United States District Court in Austin.  We expect the trial to conclude on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey is the second challenge to Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2), sweeping anti-choice legislation that was passed last summer and has already shuttered clinics across the state and left women with extremely limited health care options. This lawsuit seeks to block the admitting privileges requirement specifically as it applies to Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso—two clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities. The second suit also seeks to strike HB2’s provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), a provision scheduled to take effect in September 2014 that would leave fewer than 10 clinics in Texas and force many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles or cross state lines to access safe and legal abortion services.

The trial will happen before Judge Lee Yeakel at the United States District Court in Austin at 501 West Fifth Street as it did with our first trial last October. Judge Yeakel will decide that morning whether electronic devices are allowed inside of the courtroom, though it’s likely they’ll only be allowed for taking notes and not for Internet access. 

Watch our Twitter feed for live updates on the trial as we get them, as well as our Facebook page and this blog for more as we fight back against this law with help from the Center for Reproductive Rights and others. #FightBackTX

Our Second Lawsuit against House Bill 2

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From the Center for Reproductive Rights:

Just a few days after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit refused to block two provisions of a far-reaching and unconstitutional legislative attack on women’s rights and health care passed in Texas last summer—a measure that has since closed several abortion clinics and created a devastating health care crisis for countless women—the Center for Reproductive Rights has gone back to court today to file a new lawsuit against House Bill 2.

The new federal lawsuit, Whole Woman’s Health, et al., v. Lakey, et al., comprises two parts. First, it seeks an immediate court order blocking the law’s requirement that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals as it applies to Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen and Reproductive Health Services in El Paso—two clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities.

Second, the lawsuit seeks to strike down HB2’s provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). The requirement, which is set to take effect September 1, would force reproductive health clinics offering abortion care to either rebuild from the ground up and become essentially mini-hospitals or close entirely—leaving fewer than 10 clinics in a state with a female population of 13 million. There would not be a single abortion clinic west or south of San Antonio, forcing many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles to access safe and legal abortion services or cross state lines.

Said Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health:

“In our rush to do all we can to comply with yet another restriction placed on women’s access to abortion in Texas we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture; we must reject the premises these laws were passed on at its base and fight to block them going into effect, or get them overturned.

“Our elected officials lied to all of us, HB2 has nothing to do with improving women’s health and safety; but rather it is a proven and successful strategy to end safe abortion care for women in Texas.”

 “For too long elected officials in Texas have played political football with women’s lives. We are disappointed to have to file this lawsuit today, but we are committed to the women of Texas. Whole Woman’s Health will be here no matter what, fighting these laws and fighting to keep our clinics open and of service to the women who need us.”

 Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen has been unable to provide abortion services to their patients since the admitting privileges requirement took effect in November 2013 and most recently closed its doors entirely, leaving the Rio Grande Valley without an abortion provider and continuing to force women to travel 300 hundred miles roundtrip to the next nearest clinic.  In El Paso, Reproductive Health Services was initially able to obtain temporary privileges at a local hospital, but those privileges are set to expire next month.

In addition to Whole Woman’s Health and Reproductive Services, the Center also represents Abortion Advantage, Austin Women’s Health Center; Killeen Women’s Health Center; and a group of physicians who provide abortion services at these clinics.

The clinics and physicians in today’s lawsuit are represented by Stephanie Toti and Esha Bhandari of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and John H. Bucy II, an Austin attorney.

The Center—along with other reproductive health advocates and providers—initially filed a joint lawsuit against HB2 in September 2013, challenging the law’s unconstitutional restrictions on medication abortion as well as the admitting privileges requirement. The admitting privileges provision was initially struck down, but then took effect on October 31, 2013 after a decision by the Fifth Circuit to stay the lower court’s injunction.  The results have been nothing short of devastating, leaving thousands of women who are already facing extremely limited reproductive health care options due to drastic family planning cuts in 2011 without access to health care and several clinics closing their doors across the state. Just last week­, the Fifth Circuit ultimately upheld both the admitting privileges requirement as applied to all clinics in the state and the restrictions on medication abortion.

Said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“We filed this lawsuit to stop the second-largest state in the nation from plunging millions of women back into the darkness and grave danger of illegal abortion that Roe v. Wade was supposed to end.

“If these legislative attacks on women’s health care continue to take effect, fewer than 10 clinics will be available to provide abortion care to Texas’s 13 million women. Many women will suddenly face a round trip as far as 1,000 miles from their homes to obtain abortion care in Texas.

“There is no question that the politicians who passed this law intended this as the final blow in their assault on women’s constitutional right and ability to safely and legally end a pregnancy in Texas.

“It is an affront to women’s dignity, endangering their health, well-being, and lives. It is an attack on the U.S. Constitution, and the rights it guarantees all of us to make our own decisions about our families without interference from politicians, and it must be struck down.”

SCOTUS Refuses Intervention into House Bill 2

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Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of SCOTUS’ majority opinion to not interfere with the 5th Circuit’s decision to allow House Bill 2 to take effect.

As you may have heard last night, The Supreme Court of the United States issued a 5-4 ruling refusing to intervene into the 5th Circuit Court’s decision to allow House Bill 2 to be implemented in Texas, citing that there was not enough evidence that the court’s decision is causing harm to Texas women.

The Supreme Court’s majority opinion was a short nine pages, ending with Justice Scalia saying that “there is no doubt that the applicants have not carried their heavy burden of showing that doing so was a clear violation of accepted legal standards-which do not include a special “status quo” standard for laws affecting abortion. The Court is correct to deny the application.”

In the even shorter dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer cited four reasons for disagreeing with the court’s majority opinion. In his fourth reason, he sided with abortion providers, saying that “the balance of harms tilts in favor of the applicants” and that “If the law is invalid, the injunction properly prevented the potential for serious physical or other harm to many women whose exercise of their constitutional rights to obtain an abortion would be unduly burdened by the law. And although the injunction will ultimately be reinstated if the law is indeed valid, the harms to the individual women whose rights it restricts while it remains in effect will be permanent.”

From our press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11/20/2013-AUSTIN, TX Thousands of women will continue to be denied their constitutional rights and access to abortion services in Texas following an order issued today by a majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to reinstate an injunction blocking a measure that has forced approximately one-third of the state’s licensed health centers providing safe and legal abortion to immediately stop.

In dissenting from the Court’s majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote: “Although the injunction will ultimately be reinstated if the law is indeed invalid, the harms to the individual women whose rights it restricts while it remains in effect will be permanent.”

Whole Woman’s Health is the lead plaintiff in the case represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights with clinics in Austin, Beaumont, Fort Worth, McAllen and San Antonio and has been providing safe, compassionate abortion services to women in Texas communities for over 10 years.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and President of Whole Woman’s Health states, “The reversal of the injunction to block HB 2 has greatly affected Whole Woman’s Health staff, doctors and the women we serve all across Texas. The stories we have collected in our clinics from women and their families as they confront this injustice over the past three weeks are heartbreaking.”

The provision, which took effect on October 31 after a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed a lower court’s injunction, requires all abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital-a measure that has halted abortion services at more than a dozen clinics across Texas.

Hagstrom Miller continues, “The fact is that the hospital privileging process is not simple nor is it efficient. We have highly trained physicians who are qualified for privileges, and we have countless applications in to multiple hospitals throughout the state. But this is not about physician training or qualifications, this is about politics. To date,  more than one hospital has denied even sending our MDs an application for privileges because of their affiliation with Whole Woman’s Health – and these are board certified, published, and accomplished OB/Gyns. Make no mistake; this law was designed to block access to abortion for Texas women. And it is working.”

Immediately after U.S District Judge Lee Yeakel issued an injunction against the measure on October 28, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the decision and asked the appellate court to lift the injunction put into place by Judge Yeakel’s decision pending the outcome of the appeal.  The Fifth Circuit granted the state’s request late on October 31, allowing the state to immediately start enforcing the unconstitutional admitting privileges requirement while the case challenging the law proceeds.

Whole Woman’s Health will continue to advocate for women and find ways to help women get the safe healthcare that they need. Hagstrom Miller reminds us, “Women deserve our compassion, empathy and advocacy. We stand with Texas women.”

Our case is still expected to be heard by the Supreme Court after it goes through the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in January.

29 Days Left: Continue the Fight.

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From ACLU of Texas’ Facebook page.

On Friday, we announced a joint federal lawsuit against the state of Texas to combat House Bill 2, an extremely restrictive law that passed in the state legislature this summer.

From CEO and President of Whole Woman’s Health, Amy Hagstrom Miller:

“We are filing a lawsuit today to stop the immense damage that this law will do to the healthcare system for women and families in Texas. The multiple requirements in HB2 create a perfect storm for thousands of women; blocking their access as well as taking away their right to safe medical care. This law is an injustice to women, men and families throughout Texas – from the urban areas along the I35 corridor, to the Valley, to East Texas, to West Texas. Many clinics have already closed and many more face closure if this law is not enjoined immediately.”

The lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v Abbott, is being filed by dozens of women’s healthcare providers in Texas with the Center for Reproductive Rights (representing Whole Woman’s Health), the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union. All parties are represented by Texas firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton.

The litigation will specifically address two provisions of HB 2 that are the most immediate, far-reaching, and destructive for women’s health in Texas:

A provision to require physicians providing abortion services to obtain hospital admitting privileges. 

  • Arguably the most pressing of the HB 2 restrictions is its requiring of any physician providing abortion services to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. The provision, which isn’t required of any other medical provider, could cause at least one-third of the state’s licensed health centers providing safe, legal abortions to close in approximately a month from now. Cities like Lubbock, Fort Worth, Waco, McAllen, Harlingen, and Killeen would have access eliminated due to 13 of the 36 clinics in Texas having to close their doors. This has nothing to do with the training, expertise, or standards of the physicians involved but has everything to do with the difficulty of getting admitting privileges from a hospital due to moral or political objections to abortion.

A provision that would change the dosage and administering of a medication abortion.

  • The lawsuit will specifically request an injunction on HB 2’s requirements that doctors now prescribe abortion-inducing drugs according to an outdated Food and Drug Administration label. Doctors have not followed this protocol for 13 years as research has since found that current ways in which the drug is administered are safer, more effective, and use less of the medication when a woman chooses to use the pill method to end a pregnancy. The old FDA label requires both three times the dosage of the current prescription and would also allow the drug to be administered not at a place where she chooses to miscarry, but only in a licensed abortion facility. Under the new requirements, a woman would have to drive back-and-forth to the clinic for each pill, increasing the chances that she would miscarry while commuting to and from one of her appointments.

Similar laws that require hospital admitting privileges have been passed in states like Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, all of them having had an injunction filed against them via a lawsuit similar to Planned Parenthood v Abbott. This is another indication that HB 2 is not an isolated law, but rather a repeat attempt by a larger national movement to restrict access across the US as a whole.

Research has already been done on the impact of HB 2 from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TXPEP), who found that of the women affected by HB 2, 80% of them will be living outside of the major metropolitan areas where the last remaining clinics that provide abortion will be. According to TXPEP’s findings, “nearly half of women seeking an abortion in Texas were unable to access their preferred birth control method in the months prior to their unintended pregnancy.”

The majority of Texans oppose HB 2 and any other abortion restrictions like it. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that 80 percent of Texans did not want abortion to be on the call for the special session this summer: “of registered voters, 63 percent say the state has enough restrictions on abortion and 71 percent thinking that the Governor and legislature should be more focused on the economy and jobs. A majority opposes the sort of legislation passed by the state Senate and being considered by the state House during this legislative Special Session, believing that it imposes further restrictions on abortion. Overall, only 34 percent trust the Governor and the legislature to make decisions about women’s healthcare.”

HB 2 has another provision not included in Planned Parenthood v Abbott, which would require all abortion facilities in Texas to increase their building standards to Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) by September 2014. Facilities that would attempt to meet the requirements would need more time and a lot more money in order to retrofit or build an ASC to operate within the law.

So, what can you do?

We recommend doing the most important thing, and that’s educating everyone you know about the weight of this lawsuit and the precedence it could set. The Department of State Health Services has opened up public commentary for a 30-day period that started last week on the new rules set in place by HB 2. Participate in events like this webinar at 2pm today, or go to film screenings about the importance of abortion like this Cinema East screening of After Tiller. Always remember that spreading knowledge and awareness is your best weapon in the fight against the stigma that surrounds reproductive healthcare.

If you want to know why lawsuits and courts are an important part of challenging legislation, watch this video from WhyCourtsMatter.org, a project by the Center for American Progress:

We will keep you posted with updates on the lawsuit, on the status of our company’s presence in Texas, and on what’s next in continuing the fight against anti-choice extremists.

#fightbacktx