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Supreme Court of the United States

SCOTUS Struck Down a Law Protecting Women… 4 Stories Show Why Such Laws Are Necessary

By Teresa Haney posted on:
July 1, 2020

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down a commonsense Louisiana law that required abortion doctors—like doctors at other ambulatory surgical centers—to be able to admit and treat their patients at nearby hospitals. This simple requirement was meant to help protect the health and safety of women.

But the abortion industry fought the law, demanding an exemption from this standard.

Many abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, claim to be “dedicated to bringing high-quality, affordable care to every member of their community.” But a closer look shows that they have consistently failed to offer women the level of care they deserve—which is why laws protecting women’s safety and patient rights are necessary.

Just consider these examples.


Holly Patterson

Holly had just turned 18 when she unexpectedly became pregnant. Without telling her parents, Holly obtained a chemical abortion from her local Planned Parenthood. Three days later, she was experiencing severe abdominal pain and cramping. Planned Parenthood instructed her to take painkillers, insisting that her pain was normal.

The next day, Holly went to the emergency room where she was given more painkillers and sent home. On the seventh day after her abortion, still in immense pain, Holly returned to the hospital. But by then it was too late. Holly died that afternoon. Her parents were blindsided.

Holly experienced what is called Clostridium sordellii Toxic Shock Syndrome, an infection that is now a known side effect of the abortion pill. At least 24 women have died from abortion pill complications, and thousands of others have experienced serious side effects requiring hospitalization. While voluntary reporting means that we will never know exactly how many women have been hurt by the abortion pill, these numbers raise significant concerns.

Planned Parenthood neglected to inform Holly that, although the drugs prescribed during a chemical abortion were approved by the FDA, the dosage and instructions Holly received strayed from the FDA-approved protocol. Instead, Holly was prescribed double the approved dosage of misoprostol, the second drug taken during medical abortions. Is that the high-quality care women deserve?


Cree Erwin-Sheppard

Cree was a 24-year-old beloved mother, daughter, and sister. Pregnant and alone, Cree went to Planned Parenthood for a surgical abortion. But after her abortion, Cree experienced severe abdominal pain for several days.

Scared and in pain, Cree told her mom what had happened, and her mom rushed her to the emergency room, where doctors gave her pain medicine and sent her home. The next day, Cree, exhausted from her pain, took a nap. When her mom went to check on her, she realized that Cree was cold to the touch. Cree had died in her sleep.

An autopsy report showed that Cree’s uterus was perforated, and she had bled out internally. In other words, Planned Parenthood botched her abortion. Undoubtedly, Cree deserved a higher level of care than she received.


Tonya Reaves

Tonya was a 24-year-old wife and mother who lost her life a mere 12 hours after an attempted abortion at Planned Parenthood. After the failed abortion, Tonya was left to bleed out at the clinic for five and a half hours without medical treatment.

Eventually, someone called an ambulance that got Tonya to the hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late.

Because Planned Parenthood did not communicate Tonya’s medical history to the emergency room, doctors were left guessing, and hours passed before Tonya received the proper treatment. Doctors ultimately discovered that Tonya’s uterus had been perforated, but by then there was nothing they could do.

Instead of revisiting their practices or requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital so this wouldn’t happen again, Planned Parenthood offered Tonya’s family $2 million in exchange for her life.


Keisha Marie Atkins

Keisha Marie Atkins was a young, 23-year-old woman and a beloved daughter. Keisha found herself at Southwestern Women’s Clinic, an abortion clinic, at approximately six months pregnant. The Southwestern Women’s Clinic website boasts that its organization is “dedicated to providing safe abortions,” and that its founder, Dr. Curtis Boyd, was one of the first physicians to “provide high quality…outpatient procedures in the southwest.”

Keisha’s family would disagree.

Alarmingly, Southwestern Women’s Clinic did not tell Keisha about the potential risks that accompany late-term abortions. Even worse, they allegedly told her not to call 911 if she experienced complications. Keisha experienced severe pain days after her initial visit, and she returned to Southwestern Women’s Clinic. She was later transported to a nearby emergency room, where she died of sepsis.

Dr. Boyd did not provide high quality care to Keisha. On the contrary, his “care” cost Keisha her life.


The abortion industry doesn’t care about women. If it did, it would put practices in place that protect women and ensure they receive the standard of care they deserve. Practices like informing women of the complete risks associated with the abortion procedures and maintaining admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of emergency are commonsense safeguards. In fact, these simple practices could have saved these women’s lives.

Instead, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers fight against these basic safeguards, arguing that their patients shouldn’t get the protections. This reveals the true motivations of Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry—profits over patients.

Where Planned Parenthood fails to properly care for its patients, we look to the states to enact laws that keep the abortion industry in check.

And even though the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s law, that principle remains. In a controlling concurring opinion, Chief Justice Roberts made it clear that states still have the right to enact health and safety regulations on abortion to protect women.

So, where do we go from here?

Alliance Defending Freedom is committed to promoting the safety of women and amplifying the voices of women. That’s why we filed a friend-of-the-court brief highlighting abortion providers’ egregious practices in Louisiana, and why we will continue our work at the federal, state, and local levels to protect the health and safety of women.

We cannot let women’s safety be ignored by the abortion industry.

In the face of this Supreme Court decision, we must strengthen our resolve and continue working to ensure that women receive the standard of care they deserve—the standard of care that Holly, Cree, Tonya, and Keisha tragically didn’t receive.

Teresa Haney

Teresa Haney

Legal Secretary

Teresa Haney is a Legal Secretary for the Center for Life at Alliance Defending Freedom.

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