Austin, TX – On Friday, December 10th at 10 am CST the Supreme Court of the United States released their opinion on the two cases challenging SB8, Texas’s 6-week abortion ban. First and most importantly, the anti-abortion majority in Supreme Court allowed SB8 to remain in effect, prolonging the ban on abortion care for the majority of Texans.
Second, they dismissed the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the state of Texas. Third, while they affirmed that Texas abortion providers do have standing to sue and can continue to pursue their case, SCOTUS narrowed the group of permissible defendants to state administrative agency heads. This opinion does not address one of the most egregious components of the law, the civil liability portion, which allows anyone, anywhere to sue to enforce the ban.
Abortion providers can still be held liable for providing constitutionally-protected health care despite 50 years of precedent.
The Impact of SB 8 on Abortion Access in Texas
- A 50% decline in abortions at Texas clinics after the law went into effect—almost 2,200 in September 2021 compared with 4,300 in September 2020. [Texas Policy Evaluation Project, October 2021]
- The Texas abortion ban and the resulting increase in patients at clinics in adjoining states has forced some Texas residents—or at least those who have the resources to do so—to travel even farther for care. [Guttmacher, November 2021]
- One clinic in a state adjacent to Texas indicated that more than 25% of Texas residents who obtained abortions at the facility in September and October were more than 12 weeks pregnant—when only 13% of abortions in Texas to state residents occurred at that number of weeks or later before S.B. 8 was implemented. [Guttmacher, November 2021]
Avow Executive Director Aimee Arrambide issued the following statement:
By allowing SB8 to remain in effect, the anti-abortion majority at the highest court of the land has essentially declared that abortion care is not a constitutionally protected right. This decision sends a dangerous message that they are likely to overturn almost 50 years of precedent established in Roe v Wade next summer. The Court has failed the majority of Americans and Texans who believe in the right to abortion care and the one in four women who will need abortion care in their lifetime by putting political ideology and extremism ahead of their duty to protect the constitution’s promise of liberty for all.