27 June 2016

Women of American: 1 — The State of Texas: 0

The Supreme Court just ruled that Texas' antiabortion law is unconstitutional:
Putting the right to abortion back on the same constitutional footing the Supreme Court laid down nearly a quarter-century ago, a divided Supreme Court on Monday swept away new forms of state restrictions on the way clinics can function. Together with recent refusals by the Court to allow states to narrow the scope of the abortion right itself, the new ruling in Whole Woman’s Health Clinic v. Hellerstedt thwarted a wave of new laws against women’s choice to end pregnancy.


The Casey decision had partly reaffirmed the basic abortion rights ruling of 1973, Roe v. Wade, but still protected a wide range of choice for a women to seek an abortion up to “viability” — the point at which the fetus would be capable of living if delivered from the woman’s body. Many state legislatures have recently tried to ban abortions before that point, but the Supreme Court has refused to hear defenses of those new laws, and Breyer’s opinion noted that the Court still follows the 1992 standard.

At issue in the new case, named for an abortion clinic in San Antonio, were two parts of a Texas law (“H.B. 2”) passed by the legislature three years ago. Both provisions were ruled unconstitutional Monday: a requirement that any doctor performing an abortion have a privilege to admit patients to a regulate hospital within thirty miles of the clinic; and a requirement that every abortion clinic’s facilities be upgraded to equal those of a surgical center.

Unlike the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the five-Justice majority refused to accept the word of the Texas legislature that both of the measures it enacted would protect women’s health. The task of judging whether a law puts an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to abortion, the new ruling declared firmly, belongs with the courts, not the legislatures.

Both of the restrictions in H.B. 2, the Court declared, put an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, and thus cannot stand. Although the Court’s opinion never once questioned the motives of the state legislature, even though challengers to the two restrictions had argued that the health-and-safety argument was a cover for anti-abortion sentiment, his opinion was filled with findings that the legislation would do just the opposite, and imperil the health of pregnant women.
I expected a 4-4 tie.

There are about 20 states where new abortion restrictions are now likely to be reversed.

Good news today.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully the other conservatives on the court will acquire a spine. If nothing else, see the writing on the wall for future issues ordinarily a slam bang and off the dockets, depending on what mood the kock brothers were in...gun control maybe? Serious considerations for changes to the 2nd. Rein in wall street...serious consequences for revenues off the backs of American workers taken and hidden abroad.

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