Click to read APHA's brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, which challenges abortion requirements in Texas. Photo by APHA

Click to read APHA’s brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, which challenges abortion requirements in Texas. Photo by APHA

APHA and public health deans, department chairs and faculty sent a clear message in a brief to the Supreme Court yesterday: Texas H.B. 2 — which restricts access to reproductive health services with medically unnecessary abortion requirements — harms the health of Americans.

And it must be reversed.

The Court will hear opening arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, which challenges the Texas law, on March 2 and the decision will likely arrive in late June. The Court will consider two provisions:

  • one requires physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is performed; and
  • one that requires abortion facilities to meet standards designed for ambulatory surgical centers.

In their brief, APHA and more than 50 deans, department chairs and faculty members with expertise in public health stated that the law will not make abortion safer, but instead force many abortion providers to close and deprive women of safe, local reproductive care.

“Without access to safe, local reproductive care, including legal abortion, women’s health suffers. The public health in Texas is particularly vulnerable because of the substantial population of low income women of reproductive age and because of the state’s lack of support for family planning,” APHA stated in a summary of the brief. “By stripping the vast majority of the state’s already-vulnerable population of access to safe, legal abortion care, H.B. 2 creates a substantial risk that women will seek later-term abortions with increased risk, face the serious mental and physical health risks of being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, or resort to illegal abortions.

“These are serious harms for individual women and their families — but they are also real threats to the overall public health.”

Prior to H.B. 2, more than 40 licensed facilities with abortion services operated in the state. That number has been cut almost in half.  According to the brief, the number of reproductive-age women in Texas living at least 100 miles from an abortion provider has increased significantly in a short period of time.

Find out more about APHA’s ongoing reproductive and sexual health advocacy efforts.