In a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ HB 2 law that imposed “unnecessary health regulations” on abortion providers and clinics and created serious barriers for women seeking abortions. Hispanic media outlets lauded the decision, noting that HB 2 had a particularly negative impact on the approximately 2.5 million Latina women of reproductive age living in Texas.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas’ Anti-Abortion HB 2 Law
LA Times: Supreme Court Strengthens Right To Abortion, Strikes Down Texas Restrictions On Clinics. On June 27, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Supreme Court ruled against Texas’ HB 2 in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, deeming the law’s regulations an “undue burden” for women seeking abortions. According to the article, the regulations “did little to protect the health of women while imposing significant obstacles for those who seek an abortion,” as they “would have closed three-fourths of the abortion clinics in that state”:
The Supreme Court on Monday handed down its most significant abortion ruling since 1992, shielding doctors and clinics from unnecessary health regulations that could force them to stop offering the procedure.
The justices, by a 5-3 vote, reaffirmed their view that state lawmakers may not put an “undue burden” on women who seek an abortion and overturned a Texas law that would have closed three-fourths of the abortion clinics in that state.
The court’s opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer concluded the strict Texas regulations did little to protect the health of women while imposing significant obstacles for those who seek an abortion.
The ruling is likely to block or void similar laws in about two dozen other states. [Los Angeles Times, 6/27/16]
Hispanic Media Highlighting The Negative Impact Of HB 2 On Latinas
La Opinión: “In Practice, Restricting Abortion In Texas Was A Way To Punish Poorer Women,” Including 2.5 Million Latinas. La Opinión’s editorial board called the Supreme Court ruling “a victory,” explaining that the shuttering of Texas clinics that resulted from HB 2 “has greatly affected low-income women and those who live far from urban centers.” The paper noted that “impoverished women, including 2.5 million Latinas living in Texas … do not have the financial resources or the time to travel long distances to obtain reproductive health services.” From the June 27 editorial (emphasis original):
Advocates for the law say that their intention is to protect the health of women by creating safer conditions, but the reality is very different. Their true purpose is to limit abortions by establishing requirements that clinics will be unable to meet, forcing them to close. The tactic is being used in other Republican-led states to counteract the difficulty of annulling the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion.
The strategy has resulted in the closing of many clinics, which has greatly affected low-income women and those who live far from urban centers. Women with higher incomes living in cities were not as severely impacted due to the variety of medical services to which they have access, unlike impoverished women, including 2.5 million Latinas living in Texas. They do not have the financial resources or the time to travel long distances to obtain reproductive health services.
In practice, restricting abortion in Texas was a way to punish poorer women, and it threatens a woman’s constitutional right to end her pregnancy. [La Opinión, 6/27/16]
Univision Explains The Numerous Barriers Latinas Face In Accessing Reproductive Health Care. A June 27 Univision article listed a number of obstacles Hispanic women already faced, prior to HB 2, in obtaining access to reproductive health care, including “poverty, immigration status, a lack of dependable transportation, inability to take time off work, and lack of child care.” The article reported that “women who are denied their constitutional right to access an abortion are more likely to attempt a self-induced abortion,” adding that this is “especially true of Latinas.” The piece also noted that “many Latinas had depended on the clinics that were forced to close to obtain contraceptives and other preventative services for reproductive health.” From the June 27 Univision article (translated from Spanish):
According to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and other organizations that represent Latinas, Hispanic women already face plenty of obstacles in accessing health care: poverty, immigration status, a lack of dependable transportation, inability to take time off work, and lack of child care. Furthermore: Latinos are two times more likely than whites to not have health insurance, which has makes it extremely difficult to seek and pay for a medical procedure.
Women who are denied their constitutional right to access an abortion are more likely to attempt a self-induced abortion. This is especially true of Latinas, according to recent research by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project from the University of Texas at Austin, which interviewed 1,397 Texas residents in 2015 between the ages of 18 and 49. Of those women, 44% were Latina, of whom 1.7% reported having tried to end a pregnancy on their own.
Also, many Latinas had depended on the clinics that were forced to close to obtain contraceptives and other preventative services for reproductive health, even though those women are more than twice as likely to have unwanted pregnancies. [Univision, 6/27/16]
El Diario: The Decision Benefits Minority Women Who “Depend Most On Abortion Clinics For Their Health Care Needs.” El Diario reported that the decision benefits “African American women, Latinas, and other minority women who, due to low resources, depend most on abortion clinics for their health care needs in Texas.” The report noted that those impacted include “ the 2.5 million Hispanic women of reproductive age in Texas” From the June 27 article (translated from Spanish; emphasis original):
Who benefits from the ruling?
The ruling benefits African American women, Latinas, and other minority women who, due to low resources, depend most on abortion clinics for their health care needs in Texas.
César Blanco, interim director of the Latino Victory Fund, said that the ruling is a “historic victory” for defenders of women’s reproductive rights, especially of the 2.5 million Hispanic women of reproductive age in Texas.
These women were “disproportionately affected” by the law HB 2, because they confronted “large barriers” to accessing health services due to their immigration status, poverty, lack of transportation or child care, or simply because they couldn’t take days off of work.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said that the ruling is “a vindication of the rights of the people that seek access to the critical services that reproductive health centers offer.” [El Diario, 6/27/16]
Telemundo: “The Decision Will Have A Particular Impact For Hispanic Women” in Texas. A June 27 segment of Telemundo’s Noticiero Telemundo highlighted that “the decision will have a particular impact for Hispanic women of reproductive age.” Telemundo correspondent Cristina Londoño explained that because of HB 2, “the number of active abortion clinics in Texas fell from 42 to 19, and nine others were about to close,” noting that this disproportionately affected the “2.5 million Hispanic women of reproductive age” (translated from Spanish):
FELICIDAD AVELEYRA (CO-HOST): The decision will have a particular impact for Hispanic women of reproductive age, since they are the majority in this state. Cristina Londoño has the details.
CRISTINA LONDOÑO: With arms high and dancing, the defenders of the right to abortion received the decision from the Supreme Court.
ANDREA FARREÑO: We are going to be able to continue offering the essential health care that we have offered for so many years without this fear of them closing us down.
LONDOÑO: Meanwhile, the number clinics that practice abortions in Texas fell from 42 to 19, and nine others were about to close, disproportionately affecting, according to activists, 2.5 million Hispanic women of reproductive age in this state.
GUADALUPE RODRÍGUEZ: What we were fighting for was for low-income women, Latina women who make up a very big part of that population, that don’t have access to other forms of medical service.
LONDOÑO: According to Rodriguez, almost half of the patients of these clinics that offer every type of reproductive service in California are Hispanic. [Telemundo, Noticiero Telemundo, 6/27/16]