What Does the Supreme Court’s Texas Abortion Ruling Mean for Other Red States?

Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s laws requiring that abortion be done only in an ambulatory surgical center and only by a physician who had admitting privileges to a local hospital were both undue burdens on the right to access an abortion, and unconstitutional. Activists cheered the news and Texas providers breathed a sigh of relief, knowing their clinics would not be shut down.

But now we are seeing the bigger reach of the court ruling, and it is taking down numerous other state abortion restrictions as well. In light of its ruling on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the court has announced that it will consider appeals from the state of Mississippi or the state of Wisconsin regarding their own admitting privileges laws – which have been blocked by lower courts from being implemented.

“The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin seeking to put in place restrictions on abortion clinics that were struck down by lower courts,” the Associate Press reported. “The justices on Tuesday refused to hear appeals involving laws that would have forced doctors who perform abortions at clinics in the two states to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.”

“The Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Constitution protects not just the theoretical right to abortion, but the right of a woman to actually get one without unwarranted interference from politicians,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, in a statement. “Today’s decision should send a loud signal to anti-abortion politicians that they can no longer hide behind sham rationales to shut down clinics and prevent a woman who has decided to end a pregnancy from getting the care she needs.”

The court’s decision to reject the appeals from those two states effectively ended their effort to try to keep their laws on the books. In Alabama, it was the state that withdrew its own challenge in light of the WWH ruling. “Hours after a dramatic Supreme Court ruling threw out a Texas abortion access law Monday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced his office will dismiss its appeal of a 2014 federal court ruling declaring Alabama’s abortion clinic law unconstitutional,” reports Channel 19.

“‘The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today against a Texas law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain local hospital admitting privileges,’ said Attorney General Strange. ‘The Texas law which was declared unconstitutional is nearly identical to an Alabama abortion clinic law currently under legal challenge.’ Strange said while he disagrees with SCOTUS’ decision, ‘There is no good faith argument that Alabama’s law remains constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling.  Accordingly, my office will dismiss our appeal of a 2014 federal court ruling declaring Alabama’s abortion clinic law unconstitutional.’”

Laws that were already passed and blocked are disappearing. But others are actually in place and being complied with, or still under consideration by state legislatures. In those cases, the impact is much less clear cut. Michigan providers are considering whether or not to challenge their own ASC [Ambulatory Surgical Center] law, which has less effect on current clinics but makes it nearly impossible to open new clinics or move into a new location. “On the surgical center requirement, Planned Parenthood still sees an opportunity to challenge the law being applied to future clinics, [Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan] said,” reports Detroit News. “‘If we were able to get that decision reversed … that might open the door for us to ensure that access to abortion care is broader in Michigan,’ she said.”

And in Florida, a new admitting privileges requirement is scheduled to go into effect on July 1st. Restriction supporters claim the law should still stand because the state allows transfer agreements as well as admitting privileges, making it less restrictive than the Texas law just struck down. Legal experts say that may be wishful thinking.

As the fallout from the ruling continues, it could take months for new laws to be settled. In the meantime, though, abortion rights supporters should continue to see victories in the local courts along the way.

Photo credit: Duncan Lock, via Wikimedia Commons

41 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Ora S.
Past Member 2 years ago

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Chad Anderson
Chad A2 years ago

The Senate needs to confirm someone to the Supreme Court.

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Peggy B.
Peggy B2 years ago

It's about time. States are wasting taxpayer's money on trying to pass laws that contravene federal law. Go on red States. Keep electing people who waste your taxes while that money could go to schools or healthcare. God knows most red States could use better education as they lag behind other States which all lag behind Europe.

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william Miller
william Miller2 years ago

thanks

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Lori Hone
Lori Hone2 years ago

This should stop them for the time

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Maxane Goldstein
Maxane Goldstein2 years ago

Watch "TRAPPED". Isn't it time we came into the 21st Century concerning abortion? It's as safe or safer than childbirth and women should have a choice in the matter. Guns are legal, marijuana is becoming more legal but heaven forbid a woman (or child of 12) should have an abortion Priorities.

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer2 years ago

..

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer2 years ago

Thanks

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