At this point, we're pretty familiar with the usual suspects of uterus micromanagement — the politicians and organizations who seem to enjoy throwing tantrums about abortion rights. But the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Cole is not a tantrum. It's much louder, and much scarier.
On Friday (Nov. 13), the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, which could seriously undermine Roe v. Wade in the state of Texas. As ThinkProgress puts it, the case "presents a greater threat to a woman’s right to choose an abortion than any other that the Court has heard in the last 23 years."
At its crux is a 2013 law called HB2, which would require abortion clinics in Texas to meet an unrealistic set of standards or face closure. According to Bloomberg, "the 2013 law would force clinics to meet hospital-like surgical standards and require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital."
Whole Women's Health, which manages a network of abortion clinics across Texas (and across the country), has challenged HB2 since 2013. Texas had 42 abortion clinics before HB2, but after its passing this number fell to just 19. Now, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of upholding HB2, it will mean even more danger for abortion centers in the state; since many physicians at clinics don't have hospital admitting privileges, their centers would be forced to shut down.
This could leave just 10 abortion centers in a state of nearly 27 million people.
Here's the shadiest part: The justification for the law drips with pseudo-sympathy that HB2 is meant to ~help~ women rather than prohibit their access to safe abortions. "The common-sense measures Texas has put in place elevate the standard of care and protect the health of Texas women," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. "The state has wide discretion to pass laws ensuring Texas women are not subject to substandard conditions at abortion facilities."
The Center for Reproductive Rights has publicly condemned the law, calling it "deceptive." "[HB2's] requirements unfairly single out women’s health care providers and do not apply to other, comparable medical procedures or practices. They serve only to drive reputable, experienced reproductive health care providers out of practice."
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of HB2, the Center for Reproductive Rights noted that it could have dire consequences, "forcing women to travel hundreds of miles or turn to drastic or illegal options."
So let's be clear: Hurting women under the guise of helping them is still hurting them. It could even kill them.