(PRESS RELEASE) Today the Center for Reproductive Rights called on Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott to reject the extreme and divisive positions taken during his gubernatorial campaign and tenure as Texas Attorney General and reassure Texas women that their fundamental constitutional and human rights will be respected and protected during his administration.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued the following statement in response to the very real threat that Governor-Elect Abbott will further deepen the current health care crisis facing Texas women:
“Today is an alarming day for the women of Texas. Make no mistake: The election of Greg Abbott poses a direct threat to what remains of the reproductive health and rights of Texas women.
“Governor-elect Abbott has a well-known history of opposing safe and legal abortion services and has staunchly defended laws that have blocked women from essential reproductive health care services like contraception, well-woman visits, and cancer screenings.
“An Abbott Administration threatens more underhanded attacks on women’s constitutional rights like those that have already forever altered the reproductive health care landscape in Texas.
“The reality is, the vast majority of Americans—including Texans—support women’s access to safe and legal abortion. We urge the majority of women and men in Texas to hold this new governor and incoming state legislature accountable to the real needs and priorities of their constituents.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently involved in two challenges to Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2), the sweeping package of anti-choice legislation that was passed in the summer of 2013.
- The first suit—filed in September 2013—challenges the law’s unconstitutional admitting privileges requirement as it applies to all clinics in the state, as well as its onerous restrictions on medication abortion. These provisions were ultimately upheld by a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and led to the closure of about 20 of the states more than 40 abortion clinics that existed before HB2 was passed last summer. The plaintiffs requested the full appeals court rehear the case, which the Fifth Circuit denied in early October.
- The second suit—filed in April 2014—challenges the admitting privileges requirement as applied to two of the hardest hit communities in Texas, as well as the requirement that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as hospital-style surgery centers—a provision that amounts to a multi-million dollar tax on abortion services. In early October, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court’s ruling which blocked both requirements, resulting in the closure of all but eight clinics in the state. On October 16, the US Supreme Court reinstated the district court’s injunction, thereby allowing clinics previously shuttered to reopen their doors and offer abortion services while the case is heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals —scheduled for early January 2015.