ArticleVolume 33, Number 1 (2016)

More Than Mileage: The Preconditions of Travel and the Real Burdens of H.B. 2

During the winter break of my second year in law school, I drove from my childhood home in Fort Worth, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana to watch oral arguments at the Fifth Circuit in the case Planned Parenthood v. Abbott. 1 That case was the first legal challenge to the constitutionality of Texas House Bill 2 (“H.B. 2”),2 the omnibus anti-abortion bill enacted by the Texas legislature in 2013. In total, I drove 541 miles door-to-door, spending about eight hours on the road each way. That distance is slightly less than what a woman living in El Paso would have to travel to get an abortion in Texas if H.B. 2 had been fully implemented. Because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt,3 the second attempt to strike down the law, that potential outcome will hopefully remain a hypothetical.

  1.  Planned Parenthood of Greater Tex. Surgical Health Servs. v. Abbott, 748 F.3d 583 (5th Cir. 2014) (rehearing en banc denied).
  2.  Regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; providing penalties, ch. 1 §§ 1–12, 2013 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 4795-802 (West) (codified at Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§ 171.0031(a)(1), 171.041– 048, 171.061–064, and amending 245.010–011; amending Tex. Occ. Code. Ann. § 164.055).
  3.  Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U.S. __ (2016).