What You Need To Know About The Major Abortion Case The Supreme Court Just Took by By Margot Cleveland for The Federalist
On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal involving a challenge to a Louisiana law that requires abortionists operating in the state to maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. As the first abortion case to be considered by the high court since the confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the significance of this development cannot be overstated.
Yet it is not just the new composition of the court making this case consequential, both legally and politically. The case proves of further significance because the details buried in the briefing expose the abortion industry as a self-interested player putting women’s health at risk under the false flag of Roe v. Wade.
Kennedy Affirms Garbage Abortion Precedent
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When news broke late last week that the Supreme Court’s 2019-2020 term would include the high-profile abortion case of June Medical Serv. v. Gee, Sec., LA Dep’t of Health, the press quickly focused on the change in the make-up of the high court since the Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law in 2016. The 2016 decision of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt followed the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The court in a 5-3 decision held that Texas’s requirement that abortionists maintain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion facility was unconstitutional.
Since then, the Senate has confirmedGorsuch to replace Scalia, and Justice Kennedy—who sided with the liberal wing of the court in Whole Woman’s Health—has retired and been replaced by Kavanaugh. With two more originalists on the court, abortion apologists fear Whole Woman’s Health risks being overturned. Others, though, speculate that a respect for precedent may push Justice John Roberts to switch his previous vote and instead affirm Whole Woman’s Health.
There is yet a third option: The Supreme Court could uphold Whole Woman’s Health yet conclude that the facts in the Louisiana case are distinguishable from those at play Texas. In upholding the Louisiana law, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals took that tack, explaining:
Careful review of the record reveals stark differences between the record before us and that which the Court considered in [Whole Woman’s Health.] Almost all Texas hospitals required that for a doctor to maintain privileges there, he or she had to admit a minimum number of patients annually. Few Louisiana hospitals make that demand. Because Texas doctors could not gain privileges, all but 8 of 40 clinics closed. Here, only one doctor at one clinic is currently unable to obtain privileges; there is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act. In Texas, the number of women forced to drive over 150 miles increased by 350%. Driving distances will not increase in Louisiana. Unlike the record in Louisiana, the record in Texas reflected no benefits from the legislation. Finally, because of the closures, the remaining Texas clinics would have been overwhelmed, burdening every woman seeking an abortion. In Louisiana, however, the cessation of one doctor’s practice will affect, at most, only 30% of women, and even then not substantially.
Yet a Third Possibility
There is still another possibility that has yet to garner much media attention: The Supreme Court could hold that the abortion providers lack standing to challenge Louisiana’s admitting-privileges law.