LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-3 decision to strike down a Texas law that imposed strict regulations on abortion clinics, the president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast said Monday that the organization will not be re-opening its health centers in Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville.
"This landmark ruling is an enormous victory for women. Texas women's health has been at risk for years since this draconian law went into effect, and today we celebrate," Melaney A. Linton, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in a statement. "An individual's access to safe, legal abortion and their ability to make personal decisions has been restored."
According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court justices voted in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were only a "thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get abortions in the nation's second-most populous state."
During a phone interview, district 11 state representative Travis Clardy told KTRE that He's disappointed by the ruling but wasn't surprised by the decision.
"I'm disappointed by the decision of the court," Clardy said. "I think that our federal government discard too frequently what the states choose to do. I can't say that I'm surprised by the ruling, we're still living in the age of the court that essentially gave us Roe vs Wade decades ago."
The state representative said he is happy to see the bill in it's entirety wasn't shut down.
"I think our legislature acted responsibly and reasonably and I think house bill two was a strong bill, it protected the unborn and it protected women's health," Clardy said.
In the majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said the regulations are medically unnecessary. In the opinion, he also said they unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion.
"We are thrilled the Court recognized that these laws do not enhance patient safety -- rather, they punish women by blocking access to safe abortion," Linton said. "A person's right to make their own decisions about abortion shouldn't depend on who they are or where they live."
In the statement, Linton also said that it is time to pass state laws designed to "protect a woman's constitutional right to abortion, and repeal ones that block it."
"For years, Texas politicians have been attacking women's access to reproductive health care, Linton said. "In 2013, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast was forced to close our Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville health centers due to years of budget cuts to women's preventive health care services, as well as the state's dismantling of the now defunct Women's Health Program. Those political attacks and the closure of our health centers ended access to health care for thousands of low-income and uninsured women."
Linton said that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling can't undo all the years of severe funding cuts to preventive health care.
"While we are unable to reopen our Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville health centers, we remain committed to ensuring women, no matter where they live, have access to the health care they need and deserve," Linton said.
Texas' attorneys had argued that its 2013 law and subsequent regulations were needed to protect women's health, according to the Associated Press.
"The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery," the Associated Press story stated.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito Clarence Thomas dissented in the ruling.
"Thomas wrote that the decision 'exemplifies the court's troubling tendency 'to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue,'" the Associated Press story stated. "Thomas was quoting an earlier abortion dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Scalia has not yet been replaced, so only eight justices voted."