by Linda Goler Blount, President & CEO, Black Women’s Health Imperative
Women, the highest court in the land has reaffirmed your constitutional right to the abortion access! This week, the Supreme Court ruled a Texas law, which requires abortion clinics to meet the standards of outpatient surgical centers and doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, unconstitutional.
Supporters of the Texas Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, law said it was necessary in order to protect women’s health and safety. But all it did was make it more difficult for women - especially poor women and women of color - to get an abortion. Since the law took effect in 2013, dozens of clinics shut down, forcing some women to drive hundreds of miles away for the procedure, or even to attempt unsafe, illegal, and sometimes deadly home abortions.
This week’s landmark decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt means several clinics will reopen, removing unnecessary barriers to abortion access for the five million women of reproductive age in Texas. Most importantly, it sets a legal standard that will impact similar laws across the country.
The fight isn’t over yet, though. The Hyde Amendment is still blocking some women from accessing their constitutionally protected right to an abortion. It prohibits women who receive health insurance through the government from using those federal funds to pay for abortions. The amendment primarily affects low-income women who are on Medicaid. These women cannot afford to pay for an abortion out of pocket. And if they have children they cannot afford, it's likely they - and their children - will remain in poverty for the rest of their lives.
So as we celebrate this week’s victory, I encourage you to support the Black Women's Health Imperative in our efforts to overturn the Hyde Amendment and get the EACH Woman Act passed. We must ensure all women receive the abortion care they need and deserve.