Supreme Court Blocks Abortion Restrictions in Louisiana

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The law in question was Louisiana's Unsafe Abortion Protection Act of 2014, which required that doctors performing abortions must "h$3 ave active admitting privileges to a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services". In the 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts joined with his liberal colleagues on the court.

So much of what the court has done in recent weeks has been through emergency appeals, cases that call for temporary, yet often revealing, votes. After a trial, that judge found that two of the remaining three abortion clinics in the state would have to close because they would not have a doctor who could obtain admitting privileges. Similarly, the 5th Circuit acknowledged that it did not have any evidence that the Louisiana admitting-privileges requirement would help the health or safety of any women, even though it created a burden on providers and their patients. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Act 620 created a tangible (but limited) benefit without seriously inhibiting abortion access.

Given that Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas did not sign on to Kavanaugh's dissent, their motives are a bit more hard to ascertain (yet still pretty obvious given their conservative view of abortion). Without discussing specific justices, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser lamented that the "Supreme Court continues a disappointing trend of avoiding their responsibility on decisions concerning abortion [.] The Court should not prevent state legislators from doing the job they were elected by their constituents to do".

Roe v. Wade, she says, will die "not with a bang, but with a million little distinctions that judges will draw to limit the impact of any cases that invalidate restrictions on abortion". It would have placed Roberts right alongside the justice who accused the Clintons of running a political hit campaign against his Supreme Court nomination once credible allegations of sexual assault against him surfaced.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's dissenting opinion on the case of June Medical Services v. Eleven judges on the appeals court are Republican appointees, five of them Trump appointees.

The Supreme Court, divided 5-4, has temporarily blocked implementation of a Louisiana abortion law almost identical to the Texas law the high court struck down in 2016. Louisiana's law is strikingly similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down in 2016. The law was challenged nearly immediately upon passage and had been held from taking effect by legal challenges since it was passed.

During Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, he put on a dog-and-pony show while trying to paint a picture of a justice simply interested in the law, and as his quote at the top of this story demonstrates, he made it seem as if he would respect precedent. "I would be very surprised if he regards the Court's 2016 decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (from which he dissented) as sound precedent".

He concluded that "at most, only 30 percent of women" seeking abortions in Louisiana would be affected. The best way to find out which prediction was right, he added, would be to let the law take effect.

"By construing "undue burden" only as applied to specific doctors (and thus women), Justice Kavanaugh's logic would allow all kinds of pointless regulations, as long as doctors could somehow comply with them", Michaelson notes.

National abortion rights groups including Planned Parenthood and NARAL drew attention to Kavanaugh's dissent Friday, as did Sen. Take action at the Supreme Court with us. Justices could decide to bring the case before the court as soon as this spring.

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