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Supreme Court Rules against Texas Pro-Life Law

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2016 Jun 27

The Supreme Court has ruled against a Texas pro-life law that sought to protect women’s health and also prevented thousands of abortions. reports that the Supreme Court handed down the ruling in a 5-3 decision. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the decision. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan agreed with Breyer, while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

The prevailing decision in the case, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, was that the Texas restrictions on abortion facilities ultimately prevented women from their right to abortion and did not endanger their health.

The Texas law said that abortion clinics must meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and that doctors at abortion clinics must gain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in cases of medical emergencies.

Pro-life advocates argue that these two provisions added to women’s health and also prevented thousands of abortions because abortion clinics often could not meet these standards, and were therefore prevented from operating.

Justice Breyer, however, in the written decision, stated, “the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Thomas wrote, “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors. That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’”

Many pro-life advocates say that the Court’s ruling on this important abortion-related case emphasizes the importance of appointing a conservative justice to the Court to replace Antonin Scalia.

Publication date: June 27, 2016