A coalition of reproductive rights advocates on Thursday announced a lawsuit challenging Texas laws that restrict access to abortion care by interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, targeting abortion providers, and stigmatizing those seeking abortion care.
The Republican-controlled state legislature over the past decade has passed anti-choice laws that have forced more than half of the state’s abortion clinics to close. The lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the Afiya Center, Fund Texas Choice, Lilith Fund, North Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, and Dr. Bhavik Kumar.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in a statement that the lawsuit is part of a strategy to build upon the success of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which found major parts of Texas’ omnibus abortion law, HB 2, unconstitutional.
“We went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2016 to defeat harmful abortion restrictions and we are not done fighting so that every Texan can get the health care they need and deserve,” Hagstrom Miller said. “All Texans, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn, should be able to make the health care decisions that are best for them and get the care they need with dignity.”
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The lawsuit identified five categories of laws being challenged, including targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws, restrictions on medication abortion and telemedicine abortion; requirements that patients receive state-mandated forced counseling; parental involvement requirements that restrict minors’ access to abortion services; and laws that criminalize abortion providers.
Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, said in a statement that these laws create a burdensome regulatory regime for providers and uncertainty for people seeking abortion care.
“The group of laws being challenged may seem on the surface to be a hodgepodge of random requirements, but together they weave a huge barrier to abortion access for thousands of people in Texas, especially low-income people, people of color, and people in our vast rural areas,” Kirkpatrick said.
Marginalized communities in Texas have been disproportionately impacted by laws restricting access to abortion, and the effects have been the most pronounced in rural communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.
“Black women’s reproductive choices have historically been under attack and we stand here today on our historical experiences for the right to choose,” Marsha Jones, executive director of the Afiya Center, said in a statement. “We have always resisted, and we will continue to resist these antiquated laws that the state of Texas is attempting to move forward to control our reproductive destinies.”