June 27, 2016
WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the below statement following the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt supporting women’s access to abortion. The Court ruled that the Texas legislation known as HB2 drastically restricts abortion clinics and doctors providing abortion, creating an “undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
“The actions taken in Texas and other states across the country to restrict women’s access to abortion and reproductive services are an affront to women’s health and economic security,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “Today’s ruling tells states like Texas that they cannot regulate abortion clinics to the point of closure as an end run around constitutional rights.”
HB2 restricts doctors who perform abortions to those with admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles from the clinic, and it also requires abortion facilities to meet the standards of outpatient surgical centers. Disagreeing that the law provides benefits to women’s health, the Supreme Court ruled that these two requirements place a “substantial obstacle” for women seeking an abortion, create an undue burden on abortion access, and are unconstitutional.
Many abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood clinics, were forced to close across Texas after HB2 became law in 2013. In an 18-month period, the birth rate increased by 27 percent in areas where women lost access to affordable contraception. The impact was felt most heavily by low-income women, as more than 60 percent of them relied on Planned Parenthood clinics for reproductive services. It also heavily affected women of color, including many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs), who like many other diverse communities already experience barriers to affordable care. Texas has the third largest AA and NHPI population of any state, behind California and New York.