“Seeking to keep profits high and standards low has motivated the abortion industry for years,”
noted AUL’s Denise Burke. “It’s time to put women’s health and safety first.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-02-16) – Americans United for Life, the nation’s leading advocate for protecting women’s health through commonsense legislation, and co-counsel with The Bioethics Defense Fund in an amicus curie (friend of the court) brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, (formerly known asWhole Woman’s Health v. Cole) will be at the U.S. Supreme Court today as ground breaking health and safety standards get their day in the highest court in the land. AUL legal experts are available to discuss the heath and safety standards that have become law nationwide, such as those found in AUL’s innovative Women’s Protection Project and Infants’ Protection Project. “The Texas law provides a template for the nation’s officeholders who care about what happens to women behind the closed doors of abortion clinics,” said AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke. “Abortion advocates argue that ‘access’ to whatever they choose to sell trumps women’s health and safety, but abortion harms women. Every day, women are put at risk in abortion clinics in part because the abortion industry will invest in lawyers but not in health and safety standards.”

An attorney in Texas, Burke noted: “Ironically, Texas is again at the forefront of the continuing national debate over abortion. In January 1973, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ prohibition on abortion in Roe v. Wade, unleashing an extreme abortion-on-demand agenda that has claimed more than 50 million children and left millions of American women at the mercy of an under-scrutinized, inadequately regulated, and profit-driven abortion industry. Now another Texas abortion law has presented the Court with the opportunity to strike a decisive blow for women’s health and safety. It is important to remember that convicted Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell provided ‘mere access’ to abortions in a clinic where a woman died because a stretcher could not fit through the hallways, where unsterilized instruments spread infections, and where parts of unborn babies were stored in jars like macabre trophies. This case offers a unique and much-needed opportunity to educate the Court and the American public about the reality of “back-alley” abortions in America”

On the possible impact of Justice Scalia’s passing on the case:

AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe observed: “Following the tragic death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the State of Texas – and the women it seeks to protect from abortion industry abuses – only needs 4 votes to win. In the case of a 4 to 4 split, the well-reasoned decision by the Fifth Circuit upholding the Texas law will be affirmed. Importantly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the need for health and safety standards for abortion provideres. Since Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly acknowledged that a state has ‘a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient.’”

AUL Experts available for interview on the Texas case:

AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe, foremost legal expert on abortion law, author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade, published by Encounter Books in 2013. His thirty-one years of service to AUL includes founding and directing the AUL Project in Law & Bioethics and arguing cases before federal and state courts, as well as testifying before Congress and state legislatures.

AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke, editor of Defending Life, drafter of pro-life legislation including health and safety standards for abortion providers, and co-author of AUL’s amicus brief filed in the Texas case.

AUL attorney Anna Paprocki is a contributing author to AUL’s publication Defending Life and a leading expert on Planned Parenthood’s predatory corporate practices.

Some Background: The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, involves Texas House Bill 2, a measure enacted in 2013 with a number of life-affirming provisions. Placing profit above women’s health, abortion providers challenged provisions requiring them to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), as well as to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. In June 2015, the Fifth Circuit upheld the provisions, and the abortion providers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in their continued effort to avoid compliance with the commonsense requirements. AUL has been active in this case since its inception, submitting an amicus brief to the Fifth Circuit as well as to the Supreme Court.

In the amicus brief before the Supreme Court, AUL and The Bioethics Defense Fund represents more than 460 Republican and Democratic officeholders from across the nation and demonstrates to the Court that state efforts to protect women through reasonable health and safety standards must be upheld for reasons of common sense and medical reality.

For legal analysis of the issues in the Texas case, click here.

For more on the health risks of abortion for women, click here.