U.S. abortion rights hang by 'dangerously thin' thread, pro-choice advocates warn

10 February, 2019, 14:44 | Author: Carlos George
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Activists on both sides of the abortion debate are reacting cautiously to a 5-4 Supreme Court vote blocking Louisiana from enforcing new abortion regulations.

The Supreme Court blocked implementation of a Louisiana law that would have imposed dramatic restrictions on abortion by requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in order to perform the procedure.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted to keep the hold on the law while a lower court decision in favor of the law is challenged on appeal.

By taking up the case, he would have the opportunity to overrule Hellerstedt. Overturning a Fifth Circuit opinion, the justices invalidated a section mandating an abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If the Court had lifted the stay, two out of the three abortion clinics in the state might have been forced to close. Even if that doctor worked seven days a week, the judge said, the physician could not provide for the 10,0000 women a year seeking abortions in the state.

Roberts may yet determine, as the divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit did in upholding the Louisiana law, that the Supreme Court's earlier decision requires a fact-intensive examination of conditions in the state. "If a law does not amount to an unconstitutional burden unless it does something as dramatic as close 20 clinics in a geographic area as large as Texas, nearly every law would be constitutional".

Even before the court's order, Louisiana had said that the effects of the law would not take place immediately. Many were created to present a direct challenge to Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a nationwide right to abortion.

But the composition of the court has changed since then, with Kavanaugh replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to strike down the Texas law. "If they can. then the new law would not impose an undue burden for purposes of [the precedent in the Texas case]".

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The Louisiana clinics had argued that they would have been forced to stop performing abortions immediately and that clinics, once closed, are hard to reopen.

Beyond the Louisiana law - which resembles a Texas law struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016 - many other anti-abortion measures are being litigated in the courts or being considered in this year's legislative sessions.

He added that if they cannot, "then even [Louisiana] acknowledges that the law as applied might be deemed to impose an undue burden".

Clark said if her critics weren't griping about Kavanaugh, they would be targeting Collins for something else.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's newly confirmed Supreme Court justice, wrote the dissent, saying that the majority should wait until Louisiana completes a 45-day regulatory transition period.

Much is being made of the most recently confirmed justice, Brett Kavanaugh, voting with the minority and writing his own dissent. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans had upheld the 2014 law, which is meant to protect the health and lives of women who suffer complications from abortion. And yet. Not only is his first abortion rights vote to do the opposite, he authors the dissenting opinion, inviting states to ignore abortion rights precedent like Whole Woman's Health. It would have prevented immigrants from making asylum claims if they didn't enter the United States at a border crossing. The same is true of the Affordable Care Act, where Roberts declined to join the conservatives in striking down the entire law, instead crafting a compromise that upheld most of it while allowing states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion (thereby denying health coverage to millions of poor Americans). Justices could decide to bring the case before the court as soon as this spring. "The three clinics left in Louisiana can stay open while we ask the Supreme Court to hear our case".

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