On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear its first major abortion case in nine years. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, will take up two major restrictions in Texas’s omnibus anti-abortion law HB2, the house bill you might remember from 2013 when it passed despite Wendy Davis’s epic 11-hour filibuster.
So how has Texas’s controversial HB2 law has affected the state so far? The Texas Observer breaks it down for us with a series of graphs that show the number of abortion clinics the state has lost, how that has led to longer wait times at the remaining clinics, and what those wait times mean in terms of women having to get second-trimester abortions. Take a look:
So in the two years since the bill has been in effect, the number of abortion clinics in Texas have shrunk by half. The effect of those closings: From November 2014 to September 2015, when the number of clinics providing abortion services dropped to 18 due to the new requirements, wait times spiked from five to 23 days all over Texas. This has correlated to a sharp increase in the number of procedures performed after 12 weeks of pregnancy, which is safe but ups the cost of procedure for women.
The Supreme Court case concerns two parts of the law: one that requires all clinics in the state meet the standards for “ambulatory surgical centers” and one that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. And the outcome of the case doesn’t just affect Texas–it could potentially affect the abortion rights for women all across the U.S. The ruling will signal whether anti-abortion lawmakers can, constitutionally, establish similar restrictions in other states.
The Supreme Court’s decision is expected to be made around June of 2016. In the meantime, keep informed about HB2 at the Texas Observer.