Texas abortion case cost taxpayers in the state more than $1 million
The legal battle to defend Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions — which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional on Monday — cost Texas taxpayers more than $1 million, according to records obtained by The Texas Tribune.
In a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned provisions of House Bill 2 that required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards and forced doctors at those clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away.
Legal costs associated with that case, formally known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, totaled $768,722. That includes salary, overhead, travel expenses and other expenses incurred by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which defended the restrictions in court.
The price tag for a previous lawsuit that targeted the admitting privileges provision — formally known as Planned Parenthood, et al v. Abbott, et al — was $311,355.
The state spent almost three years defending the restrictions that were ultimately overturned by the high court. In a majority opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court indicated the two requirements provided “few, if any, health benefits for women,” posed a “substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions” and placed an undue burden on the constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
Though the Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory, House Bill 2 leaves behind a trail of shuttered clinics.
Only 19 abortion clinics — of the more than 40 that were open before HB 2 passed — remain open. Had the court upheld the hospital-like standard requirement, Texas would have been left with as few as 10 abortion clinics, all in major metropolitan areas, to serve 5.4 million women of reproductive age.