Supreme Court Will Rule on Abortion for First Time in a Decade

Despite abortion remaining one of the most contentious political issues in the country, it’s been nearly ten years since the Supreme Court weighed in on any abortion-related cases. While 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade case may protect a woman’s right to choose, that hasn’t stopped Republican legislators from passing laws that effectively restrict access to abortions rather than outright banning them. Now, the nation’s highest court has agreed to hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole and rule whether such restrictions are legitimate or unconstitutional.

Though clinic-closing measures are happening all throughout the country, the Supreme Court will look specifically at laws that the Texas state legislature passed that have forced 23 out of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics to close. More recently, Texas has passed additional laws that have yet to be implemented that would drop the overall number of clinics to just 10, with none existing in the entire western half of the state. The question before the court is whether women really have guaranteed access to abortion if there’s not a location available within a few hours drive.

Attorneys representing the state of Texas say the latest laws are necessary to protect women. The laws create new regulations that require clinics to meet certain hospital standards and employ doctors that have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in case of complications. Since existing clinics cannot meet these standards, especially not right away, it would force most of them to close. Opponents of Texas’ laws say that safety standards at clinics are already high, and these new rules are just meant to force clinics out of business.

Obviously, the stakes are high for the pro-choice movement with this case. If the Supreme Court agrees that these laws are meant to obstruct women rather than protect them, that will help invalidate all sorts of state laws that have directly been responsible for closing many clinics around the country. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court agrees that Texas’ supposed safety measures do not put an “undue burden” on women, then it will be open season for states to invent laws that effectively block access to abortion without outright banning it.

The good news is that the Supreme Court has showed early signs of not supporting the laws in Texas. Twice now, the court has voted by a thin majority to “halt” the law, thereby giving some of the remaining clinics in the state a stay of execution despite the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals finding Texas’s new laws constitutional.

Court-watchers expect the vote on Whole Women’s Health v. Cole to be close, with the swing vote to come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy. Though his votes have previously helped to protect access to abortions, his opinions on the subject are more nebulous than other justices, so his support here is not a guarantee.

As monumental as this case will be, reproductive rights activists will have to be patient since the court is not slated to rule on this case for another seven months.

Photo Credit: Supermac1961

90 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V9 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Franck R.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 2 years ago

I'd heard this disturbing news a couple of weeks ago--or more, and mark my word, this is very dangerous for women!! But do the woman-hating Republicans care?? Why, of course not! Thanks for posting.

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Natasha Salgado
Past Member 2 years ago

Abortion should be legal in every state it should be covered too. Our bodies/our right.

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Julien Eberle
Julien E2 years ago

TY

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Thank you for sharing this article.

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Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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