The Supreme Court has struck down Texas' sweeping abortion clinic regulations, delivering supporters of reproductive rights a decisive victory in what was seen as the most significant case on the matter in decades.
The court ruled 5-3 in favor of clinics and advocates challenging the law, who argued that the requirements enacted in 2013 were medically unnecessary requirements and would violate a woman's constitutional right to access abortion services.
Supporters of the law, HB2, argued that it was aimed at making sure the process was safe for women. But the majority of justices on what is currently an 8-member court disagreed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that,"It is beyond rational belief that HB2 could genuinely protect the health of women."
"Many medical procedures, including childbirth, are far more dangerous to patients, yet are not subject to ambulatorysurgical-center or hospital admitting-privileges requirements," she wrote in her concurrence of the majority decision.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the court ahead of the ruling in the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Supporters of access to abortion rights celebrated the decision after it was announced, with the crowd breaking into a chant of "Stop the sham."
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the ruling as a victory that “affirms the honest reality of women in this country — that we need abortion care, we need it in our communities, we need it without shame, without judgment.”
“That’s what keeps us healthy, that’s what keeps us free and that’s what keeps our dignity intact,” she told Refinery29.
Clinics and advocates challenging the law argued that provisions, such as a requirement that all abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital, make it too difficult for a woman to access an abortion. The number of providers operating in the state dropped in half after the law was passed — advocates believe even more clinics would be forced to close if the requirements were upheld and fully enacted.
Miller said she hopes shuttered clinics across the state can now start the process of reopening their doors. And she applauded the decision as one that is "going to help Texas, but it’s also going to help so many more states” maintain access to abortion. And she told reporters that it shows people should think twice before they "mess with Texas women."
On behalf of women: woo-hoo!
Dr. Willie Parker, abortion care provider
“When you stand up to something that’s wrong, you can win and you can make a difference, not only for ourselves but for the whole movement," she told Refinery29 in an interview. "And that’s something that’s really valuable.”
The decision comes in the midst of a heated presidential race. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton hailed the ruling as a "victory for women across America," but cautioned that the fight to protect abortion rights is "far from over." Hundreds of laws aimed at restricting or regulating abortion access have been passed at the state level over the last five years.
"Today’s decision is a reminder of how much is at stake in this election," Clinton said in a statement. "We need a president who will defend women’s health and rights and appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize Roe v. Wade as settled law. We must continue to protect access to safe and legal abortion — not just on paper, but in reality."
Presumptive Republican nominee Doland Trump has not yet publicly commented on the ruling.
Refinery29's Andrea Gonzalez-Ramirez contributed to this report.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Refinery29 regrets the error.