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Judge to Texas women: No abortion clinic within 150 miles? Just drive fast!

Texas, like so many other states in the country, is in the middle of a reproductive health crisis. As a result of the state's sweeping new abortion restrictions (and years of Republican-led assaults on clinics and women's health programs), 34 clinics have been forced to scale back services or cease providing abortions altogether; 12 clinics have closed outright. Shuttered clinics and reduced services have created access deserts when it comes to abortion, leaving thousands of women across the state -- particularly in the Rio Grande Valley region -- with no meaningful way to obtain reproductive health care.

But this isn't how Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit sees it. During a Monday hearing on the law, lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights explained that women in Rio Grande Valley must travel 300 miles round trip to the nearest clinic in order to access basic medical care, to which Jones replied, “Do you know how long that takes in Texas at 75 miles an hour? This is a peculiarly flat and not congested highway.”

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