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Case Opinion on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Law
Wordcount: 1380 words Published: 9th Aug 2021

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In 2016, the US supreme court passed a verdict that would be considered a win against conservative groups against abortion. Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt involved the Texas House Bill 2 in which, put a lot of restrictions on abortions and abortion clinics. HB 2 was passed and signed into law three years earlier in 2013 by the Texas’ Governor at the time, Rick Perry. The bill states that abortion clinics must have permission to admit a patient to an emergence facility no further than 30 miles from the clinic itself. Those hospitals are also required to have services of gynecological care. Furthermore, the clinics also must uphold ambulatory and surgical center standards.

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The process for a doctor or physician to be granted permission to admit patients is that of much difficulty. More times than not hospitals that do not already preform abortions often don’t give permission and some refuse privileges due to the physicians not meeting the quota of patient admission of that hospital. The process of renovating an abortion clinic to the standards of a surgical center is also very difficult and extremely expensive.

Due to all these restrictions, many or most of abortion clinics in Texas have been forced to close placing what Kate Greasley say’s is her writing ‘Taking Abortion Rights Seriously’ “…an ‘undue burden’ on Texan women seeking abortions.” (325). According to The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, Planned Parenthood tried to stop the regulations of requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Abbott. In the case Judge Yeakel granted an injunction preventing the regulation. Abbott then turned around and appealed the case to the US Courts of Appeals. A few day’s later they undoubtedly reversed Yeakel’s decision. Shortly after in 2014, a provider called Whole Women’s Health decided to sue the state on grounds that these regulations are causing more harm than good and that these laws are unconstitutional.

In the case of Whole Women’s Health v. The department of State Health Services’ David Lakey, the organizations argument to the court of Yeakel was that the most conservative states could pass law’s just like these or even more strict ones and women could completely lose their access to an abortion. Making Roe v. Wade, the 1973 supreme court decision that all women had a constitutional right to an abortion, absolutely meaningless. Yeakel again, ruled in favor of the abortion clinic. Lakey then turned around and did the same with Planned Parenthood v. Abbott and brought the case to the Court of Appeals arguing that the laws were placed to better secure the safety of Texas women.

Getting the same result, Whole Women’s Health requested the US Supreme Court Prevent the appeals. In June of 2015 the Supreme Court granted the request and Whole Women’s Health prepared their petition for the Supreme Court to take the case. Later that year in September the Court accepted and the case was also renamed to Whole Women Health v. Hellerstedt. In 2016, a majority decision was made in favor of Whole Women’s Health effectively preventing the state from enforcing the regulations.

Several Justices wrote on their opinion agreeing with Whole Women’s Health’s arguments saying that HB 2 had “few, if any, health benefits for women” and that it was a “substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions” and place an “‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”  Thanks to the court’s majority ruling, many clinics were able to continue their work and remain open. However, much of Texas’ residents and conservative state officials did not like this ruling, whatsoever.

According to an article by Alexa Ura, the case forced two questions to be answered. “Do the new Texas restrictions place so much burden on women seeking the procedure that they’re effectively denied a constitutional right? And are the courts allowed to question the motives of the GOP-controlled Legislature that passed the laws?” (¶ 17).

Abortion could fall into many different categories that the states control but, the matter could also fall into different categories that the national government controls. In turn, because of this division, it caused a power struggle between the two sides. On a national level, congress established abortion as a constitutional right during the ruling of the Roe v. Wade. Ever since Roe v. Wade, Texas has been constantly finding loopholes to go around the justice’s decision.

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Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt being a great example of that because Texas once again challenged the national government by implementing HB 2 and all its impossible abortion regulations. On the states side, they see it as a public health or local government issue. Texas, in some cases, have also argued it is a criminal offence because the action is “murder” of a human being.  It is because of these conservative views about the topic of abortion that the state continues to challenge the national government over the years.

In conclusion, the regulations stated in House Bill 2 was brought up in good intentions set in by the very much conservative Texas state government. However, it did not work. The state, in the end, “could not further their legitimate aims in a way that was consistent with the abortion right where regulations entailed creating such an obstacle.” (Greasley, 328). After all, the states can only merely persuade on these sorts of things considering the courts initial decision of abortion being protected under the ninth and fourteenth amendment of right to privacy.

The United States is full of diverse minds and even though we are ‘one nation under god’, we are effectively divided, as is our government. We are split in ways our of ethical or moral philosophies and state governments challenging national government is a fair way to listen to all the different views in order to make a fair decision on laws and/or rights of the people. Abortion is one of those topics that is touchy for women and was essentially taboo up until Roe v. Wade. Cases like Whole Women Health, Roe, Planned Parenthood and the many, many more similar cases bring the subject to the front line. The subject is debated about more often not only within our government system but in our society, every time Texas makes more HB’s about it (abortion) or, tries to implement new regulations.

Personally, I am more pro-choice side of things. Although I do believe it is unnecessary some of the time when there are many ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, it is the woman’s choice to do what is best for her giving the factors of her situation. The reader may have a different view, which is fine but, that is exactly was causes the, for lack of better word, the great divide between us and our federalist government.


  1. Abboud , Carolina J. “The Embryo Project Encyclopedia.” Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) | The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, 12 Dec. 2017, embryo.asu.edu/pages/whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt-2016.
  2. Diener, Keith W, and Audrey W Latourette. “Abortion.” Abortion – Federalism in America, Jan. 2018, encyclopedia.federalism.org/index.php/Abortion.
  3. Garcia-Ditta, Alexa. “The Texas Abortion Case, Explained.” The Texas Observer, 20 Apr. 2019, www.texasobserver.org/texas-abortion-case-hb-2-explained/.
  4. Pound, William T. “The State of Federalism Today.” NCSL, 24 July 2017, www.ncsl.org/bookstore/state-legislatures-magazine/the-state-of-federalism-today636359051.aspx.
  5. Seeprogress, director. Everything You Need to Know About Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Youtube, 2 Mar. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRojFBpJIAo.
  6. GOODWIN, MICHELE. “WHOLE WOMAN’S HEALTH V. HELLERSTEDT: THE EMPIRICAL CASE AGAINST TRAP LAWS.” Lonestar Collage , 2017, file:///C:/Users/chloe/OneDrive/Desktop/Whole%20Women’s%20Health%20vs.%20Hellerstedt.pdf.
  7. Greasley, Kate. “Taking Abortion Rights Seriously: Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt.” Lonestar, 2017, file:///C:/Users/chloe/OneDrive/Desktop/Whole%20Women’s%20Health%20vs.%20Hellerstedt%20#2.pdf.


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