Groups speak out as Supreme Court takes up Texas abortion law

The Supreme Court appears sharply divided over Texas abortion clinic regulations in its biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter-century. (Cutout Photo: Mark Fischer / CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Wednesday the Supreme Court is taking up the most important abortion case in two decades. The eight justices are considering Texas' law requiring that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals. It includes abortion clinics upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards. Supporters of the law argue that it is meant to protect women's health. Opponents say it has nothing to do with health and safety, but is instead a disguised attempt to end abortion.

Amid a massive crowd of protesters and despite a now famous filibuster that kept State Senator Wendy Davis on her feet for 13 hours, House Bill 2 passed. Since then, abortion regulations in Texas have been in the national spotlight.

"I was in no position to be a mother," says Zoraima Pelaez. She is among the women who spoke out against HB2 and is hoping the law is overturned by the Supreme Court.

Pelaez says, "I decided to share my story about having an abortion as a college student because I remember that this case can take us back to the days when the law restricted the freedom to choose whether and when to have children."

Vice President of Planned Parenthood Sarah Wheat says, "This law has already shut down more than half the clinics in Texas that provide safe and legal abortions."

Which is why Texas pro-abortion rights groups are watching the case closely but so are anti-abortion groups.

"It's important to point out that HB2 does not require in any way to shut down (abortion providers) in the state of Texas," says Director of Operations for Texas Values David Walls.

Walls says HB2 is a matter of safety for women. "It simply states that if you're going to operate you have to meet the same health and safety standards as other clinics and facilities operating in the state," he says.

But pro-abortion rights groups say the restrictions are unnecessary and costly. "I'll continue to share my story and make sure that people understand that this hard won freedom is at stake right now, currently," says Pelaez.

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