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Noah Feldman

How Slow Pace of Justice Is Harmful: Texas Edition

Many abortion clinics closed before a state law restricting them was struck down. Unfortunately, that's how the legal system works.
Whole Women’s Health kept its doors open.

Whole Women’s Health kept its doors open.

Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg

What if the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark abortion rights ruling -- and nothing changed? Case in point: Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the decision from last June that established a new and improved constitutional rule for when a law unduly burdens a woman’s right to choose.

Legally, the ruling struck down a Texas law that forced abortion clinics to close unless they qualified as ambulatory care centers. But now, almost a year later, only two of the clinics closed by the law have reopened. Roughly two dozen others closed during the three years the law was in effect, and many or most of those are unlikely to be revived.