The strategy of opponents of abortion rights in the last couple of decades has been pretty straightforward. They take a bunch of shit in their filthy hands and they fling it at a wall containing the Roe v. Wade decision. They see which shit sticks, and then they go back to the shitpile, pick up some more shit, and throw again. Oh, and, to be sure, a whole lot of shit has gunked up what should be a decision a woman makes in consultation with a medical professional and others, should she wish. Shit like waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds seem to be within the overly vague "undue burden" standard. And anti-choicers did get a dilation and extraction method of late-term abortion outlawed.
Today's Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a big fucking deal because it marks the end of one of the anti-choice right's favorite tactics: using the bullshit cover of "women's health" to create all kinds of impediments to women actually getting to take care of their health. Called "Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers" or, charmingly, TRAP laws, in this case, it was two Texas regulations that required doctors at family planning clinics to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles and that those clinics where abortions are performed meet the same standards as surgical centers and hospitals. They were lies based on lies propped up by lies, and the Supreme Court said today, in essence, "Yeah, you can go fuck yourself while you choke on your lies."
Or, as Jessica Mason Pieklo put it for Rewire, "Finally, we’ve got a Supreme Court decision that demands facts over rhetoric and data over belief, and doesn’t fall into the 'difficult decision that people disagree on' false equivalence. Monday’s decision is a clear, data-driven defense of the importance of access to comprehensive reproductive health care and an affirmation of abortion as a fundamental right. And that kind of defense has been a long time coming."
In his majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer slammed down the hammer of reality on the anti-choice fantasists. Over and over, in as straightforward a manner as you're gonna see in a Supreme Court decision, Breyer tells the state of Texas (and all the legislators who pretend that these regulations have any purpose than to prevent women from exercising a legal right) how full of shit they are, the level of that shit, and how meaningless their shit is, as in this summary of a District Court's findings on HB2, the Texas law:
"A collection of at least five peer-reviewed studies on abortion complications in the first trimester, showing that the highest rate of major complications—including those complications requiring hospital admission—was less than one-quarter of 1%.
"Figures in three peer-reviewed studies showing that the highest complication rate found for the much rarer second trimester abortion was less than one-half of 1% (0.45% or about 1 out of about 200).
"Expert testimony to the effect that complications rarely require hospital admission, much less immediate transfer to a hospital from an outpatient clinic."
That last piece of evidence comes from a California study of nearly 55,000 patients who had abortions and only 15 needed immediate transfer to a hospital. And that's just the beginning of a litany of "Fuck you, fuckers" from Breyer, concluding with this mic drop: "We have found nothing in Texas’ record evidence that shows that, compared to prior law (which required a 'working arrangement' with a doctor with admitting privileges), the new law advanced Texas’ legitimate interest in protecting women’s health. 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." That's the difference between a lie-filled political ad and having to testify under oath.
And when it comes to the surgical center requirement that caused the closure of a bunch of clinics, leaving very few for the entire state, Breyer says, "Texas seeks to force women to travel long distances to get abortions in crammed-to-capacity superfacilities. Patients seeking these services are less likely to get the kind of individualized attention, serious conversation, and emotional support that doctors at less taxed facilities may have offered. Healthcare facilities and medical professionals are not fungible commodities. Surgical centers attempting to accommodate sudden, vastly increased demand...may find that quality of care declines. Another commonsense inference that the District Court made is that these effects would be harmful to, not supportive of, women’s health."
You got that? Supporters of these laws are doing things that will actively harm - or, you know, punish - women for deciding to get an abortion. Breyer and the majority were having none of it.
Plus you gotta love that Ruth Bader Ginsburg follows with a concurrence that is just another little kick in the nuts while Texas is on the ground, saying, in essence, "What the fuck good is a motherfucking right if you can't use it, you pricks?"
We'll see how quickly the TRAP laws fall in the other states where legislators are trying to regulate abortion out of legal existence (while seeming to ignore the fact that abortions decrease if you make access to birth control easier - it's almost as if preventing abortions isn't their ultimate goal). But you can bet that the anti-choice forces are already gearing up for the next round of fuckery. They will be tossing those turds at the wall to see if they can get something to stick.
They are declaring that they will continue to "protect women's health and safety" from the "predatory abortion industry." It's that last piece, from the bugfuck insane Family Research Council, that gives a possible indication of what the next tactic will be. They've failed to use the medical side of things to regulate clinics completely out of business (although, congrats, cocks, you've sure fucked things up for a few years). So now it's time to put the moral and medical shit on the side and go after them as business entities. Yeah, let's predict that the next round will be about putting more and more tax and other business regulations on clinics. They've tested these kinds of things before, but that's the next direction to go whole hog.
Also, you can always use the states' rights bullshit to rally the idiots. Senator John Cornyn and Gov. Greg Abbott, both of Texas, issued statements that said something like "blah, blah, blah, states that hate women should be able to hurt women without not guv'mint tellin' us what we do to our little ladies."
So, yeah, this is a day to be relieved that the Supreme Court said that they really fucking meant it when they said that abortion is legal. But gear up for the next round. It's gonna come quickly. And there's also that presidential election and that empty ninth seat, which didn't matter this time, but, well, you know.