(Worthy News) - Behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic abortion ruling this week was a small band of academic researchers whose trove of data and analysis was instrumental in dismantling some of the country’s toughest restrictions on the procedure in Texas and beyond.
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project, known as TxPEP, assigned five researchers to traverse the state to gather statistics from abortion providers, amass public records and interview women. The project was founded in 2011 at the University of Texas at Austin to study the impacts of reproductive health measures passed by state lawmakers. Its work was enabled by funding from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after Warren Buffett’s deceased first wife.
High court justices would reference TxPEP’s findings many times in the decision, the most sweeping on abortion in a generation. Supporting briefs relied heavily on TxPEP’s data, and plaintiffs attorneys used the group’s principal investigator, public health researcher Dan Grossman, as an expert witness. That bolstered their winning argument: that the law created outsized burdens for women seeking a constitutionally protected procedure.
The ruling’s impact was immediate: Just 24 hours later, the high court turned away appeals from Wisconsin and Mississippi to revive their doctor admitting privilege laws, and Alabama withdrew its appeal to implement the law. On Thursday, Planned Parenthood announced plans to use the ruling in its attempts to dismantle more abortion restrictions in Texas and 7 other states.[ Source ]