Home New mexico state U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Texas abortion law impacts New Mexico abortion providers, patients, and funds

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Texas abortion law impacts New Mexico abortion providers, patients, and funds


In a narrow decision that leads to a limited path in the fight to stop Texas SB 8, the United States Supreme Court has ruled against one lawsuit, analyzed the other, and dismissed the Biden administration’s request to stay Texas SB Law 8.

The Supreme Court heard two separate arguments in early November around Texas SB 8, which allows anyone to sue a provider or someone who “helps and encourages” a Texas abortion patient to have an abortion in the state after. six weeks gestation. Reproductive rights officials who held a press conference after the High Court ruling on Friday spoke of the “chilling effect” the law has had on providers inside the state and the stress it has had on providers inside the state. she put on providers from other states, including New Mexico, to perform the abortion. care for patients coming from Texas in addition to patients in their own states. About 55,000 people in Texas have abortions in that state each year before Texas law comes into effect in early September. In New Mexico, about 3,000 people have an abortion each year, on average.

By refusing to ban Texas SB 8 while providers pursue their lawsuit in state federal court, it means abortion clinics in New Mexico and other states will see no immediate relief from the pressure already exerted on them. Marc Hearron, senior attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the impact of the law “deeply affects patients in Texas, but patients in other states now have to wait weeks for an abortion appointment in Texas. their own state “.

“It really is a terrible situation,” Hearron said.

Whitney Phillips, vice president of brand experience for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the Planned Parenthood clinic in Albuquerque is currently on a 12-14 day appointment wait due to the overflow.

Julie Murray, lawyer for Planned Parenthood, told the press conference that “people have to understand the scale of the needs.”

“Even though Planned Parenthood affiliates and surrounding states are massively increasing their capacity to increase abortion for those in need, it is still, given the size of Texas and the size of its population, that it it is not possible that the surrounding states around Texas could absorb this care. ,” she said.

Jack Teter, regional director of government affairs for the PPRM, told via email to NM Policy Report that “the inaction of the court today is as unjust as it is surprising”.

“Our doors remain open for everyone, including Texans who travel 1,000 kilometers overnight looking for a safe place to access abortion. Winter storms and road closures will only exacerbate inhumane political bans on healthcare. This is unacceptable, ”Teter wrote.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only judge to contestation on the refusal to place an injunction on Texas SB 8.

The tribunal ruled narrowly favored part of the lawsuit filed by the Whole Women’s Health Organization, allowing the provider to go to lower courts against Texas medical licensing officials. But the majority of the court struck down the provider’s ability to also sue state judges, court clerks and the Texas attorney general for law enforcement.

One of the reasons reproductive rights experts have called the law “insidious” is that the state itself does not enforce the law, unlike private citizens. This leaves reproductive rights providers and organizations without a clear entity to pursue the constitutionality of the law.

According to SCOTUSblog, which provides independent analysis of court rulings, Friday’s court ruling allowing the Whole Women’s Health Organization to seek an injunction against those responsible for licensing medical boards is “unclear about the relief that this could bring about a law that intentionally relies on private citizens for enforcement.

Judge Clarence Thomas wrote a partially dissenting opinion, saying he believed the supplier’s entire lawsuit should have been quashed.

Chief Justice John Roberts also wrote a partial dissent. Roberts was joined by the liberal wing of the court — Sotomayor and Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer.

Roberts disagreed with the majority view that the Texas attorney general and county clerks could not be prosecuted in the Whole Women’s Health Organization lawsuit.

There was much discussion during oral argument in early November on these two lawsuits about the potential of Texas law, if upheld, to have broader implication for all constitutional rights, as it appears to elude jurisdiction. federal judicial review.

Roberts wrote that “the nature of the federal law violated does not matter; it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake.

Sotomayor also wrote a separate dissenting opinion, with Kagan and Breyer’s agreement, that she disagreed that the supplier could not seek redress against other Texas officials, including the state court judges, clerks and the attorney general of Texas. By not allowing the supplier to sue other officials, “the court is thus betraying not only the citizens of Texas, but our constitutional system of government as well,” she wrote.

The court unanimously agreed to quash the Biden administration’s efforts to stop the law.