Saturday, November 14, 2015

Supreme Court will hear Texas abortion case, but no one is talking about rural women

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday accepted certiorari in the Cole case (previously Whole Women's Health v. Lakey) out of Texas, or more precisely, out of the Fifth Circuit.  Read more here and here. Adam Liptak of the New York Times provides context:
[I[t is the new abortion case, however it is decided, that is likely to produce the term’s most consequential and legally significant decision. Many states have been enacting restrictions that test the limits of the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, and a ruling in the new case, from Texas, will enunciate principles that will apply in all of them.
Sadly, neither of these news reports mentions rural women, and thus neither grapples with spatiality/distance in any meaningful way.  An editorial in the NYTimes mentions poor women, but not rural ones.  My critical legal analysis here, however, grapples with both.  Would be nice to know someone is listening about the particular challenges facing rural women ... or, if not listening, considering the rural situation independent of my advocacy.

Seriously, what's up here?  Have "rural" folks become persona non grata?  Those who must not be named?  Or are the advocates discussing these issues of geography/spatiality/ in more nuanced ways?  The past is water under the bridge, but it would be so great if advocates actually started taking rural populations seriously when it comes to abortion access--and a number of other issues.

For more on neglect of the rural milieu, including stigma associated with rurality and poverty, see this and this, the latter specifically about legal neglect of rural populations in constitutional litigation.

A prior post (collecting sources and commentary) on rural abortion access is here.

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