The health provider at the heart of a 2016 Supreme Court case is taking on Texas' restrictive abortion laws once again. On Thursday, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that its abortion restrictions place an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose and make access to the procedure harder for patients.
Two years ago, the clinic successfully challenged Texas' HB2 law, which forced facilities offering abortions to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, or ASTCs, and required providers to have hospital admitting privileges. The Supreme Court ruled the requirements were medically unnecessary and violated women's constitutional right to an abortion.
The case, the first major abortion-related challenge in a generation, paved the way for other health providers and reproductive rights advocates to take on similar restrictions in other states.
The new lawsuit focuses on dozens of restrictions, many of which have been on the books for decades. Some of these include Texas' parental notification law; restrictions on abortion medication and telemedicine; legislation that forces doctors to provide state-mandated, scientifically unproven information about the procedure; waiting periods; and reporting requirements, which force abortion providers to provide detailed information to the government.
"For years, Texas politicians have done everything in their power to push abortion out of reach for Texans. Today, we join communities and advocates across the state to send the message that we have had enough,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in a statement provided to Refinery29.
She added: "We went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2016 to defeat harmful abortion restrictions, and we are not done fighting so that every Texan can get the healthcare they need and deserve. All Texans, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn, should be able to make the healthcare decisions that are best for them and get the care they need with dignity."
Whole Woman's is being represented by the Lawyering Project. Some of the co-plaintiffs include The Lilith Fund, Fund Texas Choice, The Afiya Center, the Texas Equal Access Fund, the West Fund, and San Antonio-based abortion provider Bhavik Kumar, MD.
The lawsuit is a response to the anti-abortion lobby intensifying its efforts in recent years, hoping to completely ban abortions in the U.S. (Many of the recent efforts have taken place because anti-abortion advocates feel encouraged by the Trump-Pence administration.) But reproductive justice advocates are not going down without a fight: In April, a major abortion rights group challenged dozens of abortion laws in Mississippi.