For Immediate Release: Monday, November 1, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases regarding Texas’ ban on abortion before many people know they are pregnant (SB 8). The cases—Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas—focus on SB 8’s unprecedented vigilante enforcement mechanism and whether the Department of Justice has the authority to bring a challenge to the Texas law.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement in response:
“When the Supreme Court first failed to block Texas’ draconian abortion ban and allowed SB 8 to take effect two months ago, it pushed access to abortion care out of reach for nearly all Texans. The dangers of this cruel law and its impact on reproductive freedom and those who need access to abortion care cannot be overstated. The effect of Texas’ vigilante ban is already being felt beyond Texas’ borders, with anti-choice lawmakers in 12 states and counting lining up to pursue copycat bans. The Court must not allow SB 8 to stand.
No matter what comes next, it’s clear we need a legislative solution to stop bans like SB 8. The Senate must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect the right to abortion throughout the United States.”
In September, the Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ SB 8, allowing this blatantly unconstitutional law to go into effect. The Court then deferred a decision to block the law while litigation proceeds until after today’s oral arguments. This means that the vigilante-enforced abortion ban will remain in effect, for now. This has effectively shut off access to abortion care in Texas for the past two months and rendered Roe v. Wade meaningless for tens of millions of Texans.
Texas’ abortion ban is one of more than 100 restrictions on abortion access that have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. One in 10 women of reproductive age in the United States live in Texas, and barriers to care disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color; those working to make ends meet; members of the LGBTQ+ community; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
No matter the outcome in these Texas cases, the constitutional right to abortion remains in peril. In just one month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in another separate case that directly and explicitly threatens the constitutional right to abortion—Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case, regarding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, directly challenges Roe. There is no middle ground—any ruling that upholds Mississippi’s ban will overturn Roe’s core protections and our fundamental right to make decisions about our lives, families, and futures.
The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would safeguard the right to abortion even if Roe falls and stop bans like SB 8. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed this critical bill. Now, the U.S. Senate must do the same so that President Biden can sign it into law.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.