THE BLOG

Tough News From Texas -- But the Fight Is Far From Over

11/20/2013 09:48 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014
  • Cecile Richards President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes

Last night the Supreme Court denied a request by Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU to reinstate a permanent injunction entered by a federal district court last month in our lawsuit against Texas' dangerous and extreme restrictions on abortion. As a result, one-third of Texas women who are in need of safe and legal abortion will continue to have virtually no access to the procedure as we continue to fight this law in court.

Make no mistake: This news is devastating -- and these harsh restrictions have already had a sweeping and immediate effect on women's lives. Women across the state have been turned away when they show up for their doctors' appointment to get a safe, legal medical procedure.

We've heard stories from women who have taken 400-mile bus rides to get an abortion several towns away; heartbreaking accounts of folks who are trying desperately to raise the money to leave the state and travel somewhere they know they'll be able to access their constitutional right. Anecdotally, we're seeing signs that more than anything else, women are simply delaying having the procedure. Some of those women may be holding out hope that a court will rule, or an elected official will step in; others are just plain out of options. History shows us that in this situation, we all have reason to fear that some women will take matters into their own hands and resort to desperate, possibly unsafe measures.

That's why we're more determined than ever to stop this law -- and keep other laws like it from passing in the first place.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling means that the Texas law will continue to take effect while we challenge it in court. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court fast-tracked our case -- and attorneys for Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU are already hard at work preparing for oral arguments in January.

In the meantime, we have to help women deal with the impact of this law today. Our incredible staff in Texas are working around the clock to keep the doors open at nearly 50 health centers across the state -- including a brand new health center that opened last weekend in Fort Worth, specifically built to withstand restrictions like those passed by the Texas legislature. Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County -- home to some of the poorest women in the country -- recently reopened the Mission health center that was forced close after Governor Rick Perry and his allies ended the Texas Women's Health Program.

Planned Parenthood is going to continue to fight this dangerous and extreme law at every level, using every tool we have -- including urging Congress to pass stronger federal protections for women's health under the Women's Health Protection Act. This new law would outlaw the harsh restrictions that have taken effect in Texas -- and others like them across the country.

The law in Texas is already blocking women from a safe and legal medical procedure that has been a constitutionally protected right for more than 40 years. Access to reproductive health care should never depend on your zip code -- and from statehouses to courthouses to the ballot box, we are going to continue the fight to make sure it doesn't.

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