The National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision to uphold the sham laws in Texas, which shut down half the abortion clinics in the state and imposed an unconstitutional burden on women’s ability to access abortion care. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, is being brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of four NAF members and their patients.
“H.B.2’s medically unnecessary requirements are substantial obstacles that cannot be easily overcome, particularly for women who are low-income or live outside the four major metropolitan areas in Texas,” said Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO. “Calls to the NAF Hotline clearly demonstrate that many women in Texas have effectively lost the option of obtaining safe, affordable, and timely abortion care.”
Since the passage of H.B.2, the NAF Hotline has been flooded with calls from Texas women desperately seeking abortion care. These women have been required to travel increasingly long distances, including over state lines, to obtain their care. NAF member Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has seen the number of pre-20 week patients traveling from Texas more than triple, from 19 patients in the first quarter of 2012 to 67 patients in the first quarter of 2015. This need for increased travel presents other obstacles that can prevent women from accessing abortion care, such as raising additional money for travel expenses, finding reliable transportation, getting additional time off of work, and child care. “Women have had to pawn or sell personal items, such as furniture or wedding rings, to pay for the additional travel-related costs of obtaining abortion care,” Saporta said.
Women like “Rhonda,” a mother of three living in Cypress. She was struggling to make ends meet, having lost her job right around the time that she found out that she was pregnant. Rhonda and her partner decided that obtaining abortion care was the right decision for their family and began asking her family to help pay for the two trips to the nearest provider, which was located an hour away. Rhonda was worried, though, because the earliest the abortion facility could schedule her was almost four weeks away. While this gave her extra time to save up money for her procedure, it meant having to wait almost a full month before she could get the care she needed, and also put her close to the limit where the cost for the procedure would dramatically increase.
“It’s time for the Supreme Court to put a stop to these politically motivated laws that jeopardize women’s health,” said Saporta.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.