HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Supreme Court ruled today to proceed with the Texas abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, raising concerns for many.
A virtual press conference was held by the American Civil Liberties Union with members of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Lilith Fund present.
Senate Bill 8 has been in effect since September 1, prohibiting abortions beginning at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, and with this newest ruling allowing that to continue, senior counsel for Center for Reproductive Rights, Marc Hearron said this decision is unconstitutional.
“This is a dark day for abortion patients and for physicians and providers, it is also a dark day for anyone who cares about constitutional rights,” said Hearron.
Planned Parenthood Houston staff physician, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, MD, said he has been providing abortion care for about seven years in Texas.
“These last 100 plus days have been the most challenging of my entire career. Today because the court once again failed to protect our most basic human rights, more people will continue to suffer as this case winds its way through the legal system,” said Dr. Kumar.
The decision also sparked a reaction from the executive director of the Lilith Fund, Amanda Beatriz Williams.
“We are outraged that this law is being allowed to stay into effect and perhaps what is most infuriating is that our rights should have never been up for debate in the first place,” she said.
Today’s announcement raised concerns for Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance president and CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller, who oversees abortion clinics including the center in McAllen.
“Today’s decision is not okay, it is unjust, cruel, and inhumane. The legal whiplash of the last 100 days has had an excruciating impact,” said Hagstrom Miller.
She said the ruling not only impacts patients, but also her staff at the centers.
“Our staff are heartbroken, scared, and discouraged. They’re angry at having to serve as agents of the state against their will to enforce a law that they don’t agree with that goes against their consciousness and that is designed to separate them from the work that they are dedicated to and that they love,” she said.
Hagstrom Miller said with the abortion ban in effect, people are forced to travel out of state for legal abortions and not everyone has that option.
“Nearly 70% of the patients we see for abortions area already parenting, working multiple jobs, and navigating school and work during a pandemic,” she said,
The decision to continue with Senate Bill 8 has raised concerns for potential actions across the nation.
“We are at a crisis point, if the supreme court strips away the constitutional right to an abortion, roughly half the states will likely move to ban abortion,” said staff attorney for ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, Julia Kaye.
Hagstrom Miller said that there are bounty hunters that are present at their centers and continuously contacting them about their practices and they are aware of risks if they choose to continue offering abortion services, but will comply with Senate Bille 8.
“For today, and tomorrow, and the next couple of days we will be seeing people and complying with SB 8 and it remains to be seen what we’ll be able to do in the coming weeks and months,” said Hagstrom Miller.