The big claim for supporters of Texas’s abortion restrictions has always been that these policies protect women’s health. Proponents say the restrictions — like requiring "admitting privileges" with nearby hospitals and costly renovations to become "ambulatory surgical centers" — help make abortion centers safer. This argument allowed anti-abortion advocates to act as if they weren’t really trying to restrict abortion, but instead trying to help women by making the (already relatively safe) procedure safer.
But on Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled against Texas’s abortion restrictions. One key reason, as Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the court’s decision: The court saw the claim that these restrictions protected women as bogus. Breyer wrote:
We add that, when directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.
This essentially exposes the pro-women spin on abortion restriction as the farce it is: If Texas couldn’t dig up any evidence for the claim in preparation for the Supreme Court’s most important abortion case in decades, chances are something else is going on. So the Supreme Court saw through the facade — and ultimately concluded Texas’s laws were an unconstitutional attempt to substantially restrict women’s access to abortion.
Hat tip: Sophie Kleeman at Gizmodo.