Texas Abortion Law Puts Undue Burden on Women and Denies Equal Access to Legal Abortion Care

News
October 3, 2014

Texas Abortion Law Puts Undue Burden on Women and Denies Equal Access to Legal Abortion Care

Amnesty International is deeply concerned regarding the recent implementation of Texas Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), later named Senate Bill 2, a law with sweeping restrictions on abortion care that places an undue burden on women seeking legal abortion care and denies equal access of this care to women.

The October 2, 2014 ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit court that has allowed the implementation of the law has meant the immediate closure of thirteen abortion clinics throughout Texas.  By limiting some women’s access to legal abortion, which inevitably disproportionately affects women in lower socioeconomic tiers, Texas authorities are violating women’s basic human rights to equal access to sexual and reproductive health services.

All people have the right to make decisions about their own health; receive accurate information, sexuality education, and sexual health services; decide whether and when to have children; and access family planning, contraception, and maternal health care, among a range of other health services.

In accordance with international human rights standards, Amnesty International calls for the decriminalization of abortion, and, where abortion is legal, equal access to these services.  By singling out abortion clinics for medically unnecessary regulations, this law restricts access to legal health services for some women by creating an undue burden on women who will be forced to travel great distances to access certain health services.  This violates a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, and it discriminates against women of lower socioeconomic status who may not have the means or ability to travel great distances to access their legal sexual and reproductive services.

Equal access to legal abortion is a human right, and in seeking to limit women’s access to sexual and reproductive services, Texas authorities are placing an undue burden on its own citizens and increasing unequal access to legal medical services.

Amnesty calls for the repeal of the elements of this law that place unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics and thus create an undue burden for women and unequal access to legal abortion care.