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Wyden, Merkley, gov hail Supreme Court ruling on Texas abortion law


Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., hailed Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas state law known as HB-2, which they said would have placed burdensome requirements on health care clinics and doctors who offer abortions.

NewsChannel 21’s Pedro Quintana will have local reaction tonight on NewsChannel 21.

“In the United States, women have a constitutionally protected right to make their own choices about their bodies,”Wyden said.”The Supreme Court’s decisiontodayreaffirms that guaranteed right and begins to reverse the tide of extreme and unreasonable regulations on women’s health care clinics.

“I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that women across the country can have confidence they will be able to make their own reproductive choices and access high-quality, affordable health care.”

Wyden joined 162 other members of Congressin filing an amicus briefin January toWhole Woman’s Health v.Coleto urge the Supreme Court to continue to uphold women’s rights as affirmed underRoe v. Wadeand protected underPlanned Parenthood v. Casey.

Merkley also hailed the court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt which challenged a Texas law severely limiting women’s access to reproductive health services.

“For more than four decades, politicians have consistently tried to put themselves in the exam room with women and their doctors. Today, the Supreme Court has resoundingly rejected that approach and affirmed the constitutional right of women to make their own health care decisions,” Merkley said.

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a hard and very personal one that should be made by a woman herself, not by politicians and judges. The rules in Texas were clearly designed not to protect women’s health but to control women’s decisions, and it’s important that the court struck down that transparent effort to compromise women’s constitutional rights.”

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-3 ruling today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which would have restricted women’s access to reproductive health services:

“Today’s decision is a triumph for women’s health,and an importantone for our nation. Not only did the Supreme Court’s action protect the rights of women in Texas, it signals to other states the fate of hostile policies that threaten women’sconstitutional rights andour ability to control our own bodies and health decisions.

“While today gives me hope, I know our fight for women’s reproductive health rights is not over. In the steady barrage of attacks to limit abortion access, I stand firm in supporting the rights ofwomen to control their own bodies. We must be vigilant in addressing health disparities for our sisters of color and women and families living in poverty. I supportcontraceptive equity and age-appropriate health and sexuality education for all young people. Together, with our communities and like-minded leaders, we can build a legacy for women and families that ensures the future health and well-being ofour state.”

Release from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon:

Today in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States protected access to safe, legal abortion by declaring unconstitutional 2 Texas restrictions that shut down clinics and put safe abortion out of reach.

If the Court had allowed the 2013 restrictions to go into full effect, the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in Texas would have been left with only 9 health centers that provide safe, legal abortion in the entire state – down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law. As the Court recognized, “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”

In response, Planned Parenthood has vowed to redouble its efforts to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion across the country. Since 2011, state lawmakers have passed more than 316 restrictions on safe, legal abortion, and have introduced 442 in the first 6 months of 2016 alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Last year in Oregon, right-wing conservatives introduced 5 bills to restrict women’s health – including one that could have shut down nearly every abortion provider in Oregon.

Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This landmark ruling is an enormous victory for women. We are thrilled the Court recognized that these laws do not enhance patient safety – rather, they punish women by blocking access to safe abortion. Yet far too many women still face insurmountable barriers, which is why we are taking this fight state by state. It’s time to pass state laws to protect a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, and repeal ones that block it. A person’s right to make their own decisions about abortion shouldn’t depend on who they are or where they live.”

Statement from Stacy M. Cross, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette and Lisa Gardner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon:

“Today is a great day. The Supreme Court made it clear that the U.S. Constitution prohibits politicians from passing laws to block access to safe, legal abortion. No woman or doctor should be punished for receiving or providing essential medical care. We will continue to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion on behalf of our patients in Oregon. Oregon voters have consistently shown widespread support for reproductive freedom, and we will push for expanded access to all reproductive health care, including abortion. We will not be punished, and we will not go back.”

Blocking access to reproductive health care has real and disastrous consequences for all people. This often has a disproportionate harmful impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care – as National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, In Our Own Voice and other Reproductive Justice organizations have demonstrated. Expanding access to birth control, prenatal care and abortion improves women’s health and long-term financial stability for themselves and their families.

A PerryUndem poll commissioned by Vox found that the majority of Americans oppose restrictions meant to shutter health centers or make it more difficult for women to access abortion, and that 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Release from Oregon Right to Life

Washington, DC–“Sadly, women seeking abortions in Texas will be in continued danger after today’s Supreme Court ruling,” said Gayle Atteberry, ORTL executive director. The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a Texas law which mandated abortion clinics abide by the same health and safety standards as all other ambulatory surgical health clinics.

Two provisions of this law were challenged by Whole Woman’s Health, an abortion facility, saying that it created an “undue burden” for women seeking an abortion. The two provisions were that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles distance and that clinics abide by the minimum standards required of other ambulatory surgical facilities in Texas.

“The only ‘burden’ this law created, was for the abortion clinics, who would have had to bring their dangerous clinics up to state health and safety standards,” continued Ms. Atteberry. “Women seeking abortions will have to continue to have abortions in clinics which are unregulated and require no state health and safety inspections. Planned Parenthood has even admitted that almost 300 women annually need hospitalization following botched abortions. There is no reason now to think this number will change.”

These two provisions of House Bill 2, which was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in 2013, were originally struck down. However the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling and upheld the law. It was then taken to the US Supreme Court.

In today’s ruling, JusticeClarence Thomas, who authored the dissenting opinion wrote, “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors. That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.'”

He continued, “… today’s decision creates an abortion exception to ordinary rules of res judicata, ignores compelling evidence that Texas’ law imposes no unconstitutional burden, and disregards basic principles of the severability doctrine. I write separately to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights— especially the putative right to abortion.”

Unfortunately, women seeking abortion in Oregon remain in the samejeopardy as Texan women. “In Oregon, abortion clinics remain completely unregulated,” stated Ms. Atteberry. “Abortion advocates have fought vehemently against legislation which would require Oregon abortion clinics to come up to the health and safety standards of all other ambulatory surgical centers. At the present time, tattoo parlors, and even veterinary clinics, are regulated by the state and are safer to enter than an abortion clinic.”

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