Texas abortion ruling a major blow to the religious right
Abbott condemned the decision by arguing that it jeopardises the state’s objective:
To protect innocent life. The decision erodes State’s lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost. The Texas goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.
In admitting that the law, HB 2, was meant to limit abortions, Abbott deviated from the state’s initial justification for HB 2, as presented during the case’s oral arguments.
Attorneys for the state noted that the law was implemented in order to “protect women’s health” and improve safety at abortion clinics. When pressed by the justices, they insisted that in Texas:
Abortion is legal and accessible.
HB 2 imposes obstacles on abortion clinics by requiring that they invest in expensive building upgrades to meet the more stringent standards of ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals. It also mandates that abortion doctors obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Since the law’s passage in 2013, the number of abortion providers in the state has plummeted from 42 to 19.
In Monday’s ruling, the Court affirmed that the law presents “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion” and “an undue burden on abortion access.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion eviscerating the state’s argument that the law was passed to protect women’s health.
It is beyond rational belief that HB 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions. When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners … at great risk to their health and safety.
Read more on the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and the Supreme Court’s ruling here.
Writing for Salon, Amanda Marcotte said:
This decision will likely have ramifications for the entire religious right, and not just the anti-choice movement. After all, just a year ago, the Supreme Court also handed religious conservatives another resounding defeat, by legalising same-sex marriage.
And this is all happening in an atmosphere where the religious right’s grip over the Republican party is visibly declining, as evidenced by the rise of Donald Trump, a man who has clearly never cracked open a Bible.
And she poo-poohed James C Dobson’s claim that Trump was now a “born-again” Christian.
Few are fooled. The false displays of piety, the Bible-clutching talk about family values? All of it is falling away as conservatives turn away from pretending their politics are about any kind of ‘morality’, preferring instead to wallow openly in nationalism and the politics of resentment.
Which, of course, is what the religious right was always about as well. After all, their political efforts –chipping away at gay rights and reproductive rights – are naked attempts to punish other people that they resent for making sexual choices the right does not approve of.
But they always tried to wrap their resentment and hate in a veneer of Christian love, but the veil is falling away. And this Supreme Court decision is making it harder than ever for the right to cling to religion as the pretense for the politics of resentment.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn