The Worst Responses To The SCOTUS Abortion Decision Show Why We Can't Have Nice Things
On Monday, the Supreme Court stuck down key parts of Texas House Bill 2 (HB2) with its ruling in Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt. In a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court declared that two main provisions in HB2 were unconstitutional:
- that abortion clinics meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers
- that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital
While pro-choice advocates rejoiced, many anti-choice proponents have slammed the Supreme Court's ruling in Whole Woman's Health.
Since HB2 was passed in 2013, the number of abortion clinics in Texas dropped from 40 to fewer than 20, and clinics argued that the state would be left with just 10 if the law remained in effect. In the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the highest court in the land declared of the two HB2 stipulations in questions: "Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution." As a testament to how polarizing the case was, not one but two dissenting opinions were written in response — one by Justice Samuel Alito and one by Justice Clarence Thomas. Quoting Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart, a 2000 partial-birth abortion case, Clarence wrote that Monday's Whole Woman's Health ruling "exemplifies the Court's troubling tendency 'to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.'"
Plenty of anti-choice opponents are outraged by the ruling and turned to Twitter to express their feelings.
Former Republican presidential candidate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was so not so much angry as "disappointed" by the ruling (which happens to be how I would describe my reaction to Rubio's response).
Red State Women, a Texas Republican women's group, tweeted out the response of executive director Cari Christman: "After today's decision, every surgical procedure other than an abortion is held to higher medical standard." However, many abortions do not involve surgery at all. Additionally, surgical abortions are one of the safest surgical procedures. According to the Guttmacher Institute, fewer than 0.5 percent of all abortions involve any complications at all.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reiterated the argument that striking down HB2 would be a blow to women's safety. In fact, in his decision, Breyer stressed that defenders of the law has failed to adequately prove that the stipulations protected women or served a medical benefit.
Others on Twitter insisted that the Supreme Court's decision endangered the safety of women, even though research indicates that Texas has seen significantly above average search rates for self-induced abortions between 2011 and 2015 and that 1.7 percent of Texas women ages 18 to 49 have tried to self-induce an abortion.
A group called CareNet appeared to imply that there was some abortion industrial complex that was fueled by a financial interests. This author would like to note that this is one of the more bizarre anti-choice conspiracy theories she's encountered.
These responses prove that the Supreme Court can strike down unconstitutional laws, but it can't strike down myths and ignorance.