Contact: Cherisse Scott (901) 310-5488
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 2, 2016
SISTERREACH JOINS HUNDREDS OF ADVOCATES IN WASHINGTON, DC TO STAND FOR WOMEN’S ACCESS TO SAFE AND LEGAL HEALTHCARE
(WASHINGTON, DC) MARCH 2, 2016: Today, SisterReach will rally with hundreds of women and advocates from across the country regarding the Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In 2013, Texas passed HB2, a sweeping measure that imposes numerous restrictions on access to abortion, including a requirement that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and a requirement that every health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building specifications as ambulatory surgical centers – essentially becoming mini-hospitals.
Together, these requirements – opposed by leading medical groups including the AMA and ACOG – would force more than 75% of abortion clinics in Texas to close. Prior to the enactment of HB2, there were more than 40 facilities providing abortions dispersed throughout Texas. As of January 2016, that number has been whittled to 19.
In 2014, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health and several other Texas health care providers to block these two provisions. While a federal district court permanently blocked the measures as unconstitutional, that ruling was largely overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in June 2015. Immediately following, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to halt the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and ensure many of the state’s clinics could remain open while the clinics sought review by the nation’s highest court.
“This legislation will endanger the lives of thousands of women in and around Texas who rely on these safe and legal healthcare services,” says Cherisse Scott, founder and CEO of SisterReach, a reproductive justice organization based in Memphis, TN. “This trend of legislation has had the same implications in Tennessee where we’re fighting similar legislation like 48-hour waiting periods and abstinence-based sex education. The lack of safe health facilities disproportionately impacts women of color and poor women as we have seen in the current TN case of Ms. Anna Yocca,” says Scott., “When women are left with no option, when their backs are against the wall, they are forced to take matters into their own hands in order to access healthcare. Over 200,000 women in Texas have already self-aborted due to the current clinic closings in Texas. This is a dangerous national trend that legislators in support of HB2 should have taken into consideration. Instead, they insist on passing medically unnecessary legislation based on questionable morals, making it almost impossible for poor women to access the healthcare they choose and need.”