US Supreme Court rules against tough abortion restrictions

NBC News: Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.

The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.

Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.

The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”

Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

So it isn’t just a matter of appointing conservative judges, they (some of them) are still bound by precedents.

What the Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision Means

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4 Comments

  1. Brian Johnston

     /  30th June 2020

    Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent.

    Roberts portrayed a sign of weakness. He stated he thought it was wrong but voted with them all the same. He shouldn’t be on the bench. If he had stood by his principles, the vote I guess would have passed by majority. What a fence sitter. Talk about having it both ways. He talks about a binding precedent. He has just set a precedent. Does he know what a precedent is?

    Oddly Texas has the death penalty though attempts a strong position against abortion. Figure that one?

    Reply
    • I should imagine that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America would have a better understanding of precedent than all of the commenters on this blog site put together.

      But just in case we all missed it the Louisiana law imposed great burdens on access to abortion but did nothing to protect women’s health, which was its ostensible goal. The Louisiana law would have left women with a single doctor in a single abortion clinic in the entire state; the Texas law left women with 20 clinics. Roberts found that the Louisiana law imposed a substantial obstacle to protecting women’s health.

      If anything Roberts should be praised for his show of fidelity to law and precedent instead of politics (but praised only faintly because he is still a conservative). Roberts didn’t join with the Louisiana decision but concurred in a separate opinion, and his concurrence clearly signals that he believes abortion regulations should be evaluated by a standard that is still deferential to state anti-abortion forces.

      Speaking of which, why is it that some Americans fight for the right to not wear a mask, while at the same time fight to restrict women’s constitutional rights to choice under any circumstance.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  30th June 2020

        The GOP is only following this course to own the Libs. They had the House, Senate and White House in 2016 and made no move against abortion laws. Even if Roberts sided with the conservatives on this, those self-same conservatives would make no move against Roe vs wade cos their own hypocritical supporters would be outraged at losing access to abortions services, despite demanding these same rights be curtailed.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  30th June 2020

          Senate margin was too small to pass any anti abortion legislation especially as some women GOP senators are pro choice. The House passed diferent anti abortion bills as virue signalling

          Reply

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