Rutledge Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Allow States to Protect the Health and Safety of Women
March 9, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with 23 other states to file a bipartisan amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court urging that states continue the long-standing practice of being able to protect patients and uphold overall public health. The brief is in support of Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2), which seeks to ensure patient safety and raise the standard for care of women.
“States have a responsibility to ensure that all medical procedures, including abortions, are performed with a certain standard of care to protect the health and safety of the patient,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If the Texas law is struck down, it will put at risk the ability of states to properly protect its citizens. I am hopeful when the Court decides this case later this year it will recognize that Texas, Arkansas and all states have a legitimate interest in protecting the health of women and regulating the medical profession.”
The Texas law is not about overturning Roe v. Wade, nor is it about restricting access to abortions. Instead, it is about ensuring that if women choose to have such a procedure it be done in a safe manner. As the Attorneys General argue, “The entire premise of Petitioners’ undue burden theory is that Texas’s clinic regulations will prevent women from obtaining abortions. Yet, despite decades of those regulations, neither Petitioners nor their supporting amici provide any evidence of such a stark result. The most that they prove is that, in the wake of new state regulations, some abortion clinics close rather than adjust. They recite no evidence that such closures have prevented any women from obtaining a timely abortion.”
According to the Texas Attorney General’s office, in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2 to provide abortion patients with a higher standard of health care. The common-sense law requires the minimum standards for abortion facilities be equivalent to the minimum standards for general surgery centers (“ambulatory surgical centers”), as the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury in Pennsylvania recommended. The law requires abortion doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges to ensure continuity of care, as recommended previously by the National Abortion Federation.
The case was argued before the Court last week, and a decision is expected in late June.