On June 27, the Supreme Court issued a 5-3 landmark ruling on abortion rights, striking down Texas HB2, the controversial law that required abortion providers to adhere to strict health and safety standards. The law forced the closures of many clinics across the state, making it much harder for women to legally obtain an abortion. The Court decided that HB2’s regulations placed an undue burden on women’s rights.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a concurrent brief to the majority opinion. While the majority opinion was dozens of pages long, Ginsburg kept her remarks short and to the point. She recapped the majority opinion, stating that HB2 does nothing to protect women’s health and in fact is based on the myth that abortions are more dangerous than other common medical procedures.
“Given those realities, it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions,’” Ginsburg wrote. “When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”
She concluded her opinion with a powerful declaration in support of abortion rights. “So long as this Court adheres to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws like H. B. 2 that ‘do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,’ cannot survive judicial inspection.”
Ginsburg’s simple statement was a reminder of her commitment to women’s issues, and perhaps served as a warning to other states seeking to enact similar legislation.