In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade established the following:
1. a woman has a right to an abortion during the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy;
2. a state having legitimate interests could restrict abortions to protect the health of pregnant women.
3. a state having legitimate interests could restrict abortions to protect the potentiality of human life (the unborn child).
In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2, an abortion restriction law that did the following:
1. banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy;
2. abortion clinics had to meet strict hospitals-style surgical centers;
3. doctors performing abortions had to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the facility where he/she performed abortions.
Texas justified this law by stating that it was trying to protect the health of pregnant women. Women’s rights advocates stated that this was just a tactic by the state to unlawfully restrict a woman’s right to an abortion.
The Supreme Court had ruled earlier that states could regulate abortions so long as the rules did not pose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion.
Recently this Court in a 5-3 decision ruled that this Texas law was unconstitutional because it placed an “undue burden” on women trying to get an abortion.
This was due to the fact that out of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics, only 19 met the strict restrictions of this law.
Some women had to travel over 200 miles to get legal abortion services in some parts of the state.
In an earlier decision, this Court allowed the McAllen abortion clinic to remain open from 2013. This was the only clinic south of San Antonio to perform these services.
Silvestre Moreno Jr. Mercedes