In 2013, Texas passed a law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles if they wanted to perform abortions. It further required abortion facilities to meet all regulations the state imposes on ambulatory surgical centers (which perform surgical procedures that do not require an overnight stay). Supporters claimed their goal was to protect women obtaining abortions by ensuring the same level of safety patients receive at an ambulatory surgical center, and quick access to intensive hospital care when necessary. Critics claimed these requirements are unnecessary and that the actual purpose of the law was to reduce access to abortion. It may have done so: the law reportedly caused half of Texas’ abortion clinics to close.
The majority struck down the law because there was “no significant health‐related problem for the new law to cure.” It found “abortion was an extremely safe procedure with very low rates of complications and virtually no deaths” and “was also safer than many more common procedures not subject to the same level of regulation.” With regard to the facilities requirement, it cited: