High Court Takes Up Abortion Case

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by Paul Murano  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 4, 2020   

Could have major ramifications for abortion access

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TRANSCRIPT


Abortion is once again before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oral arguments start today in the case of June Medical Services v. Russo, touching on abortion legislation in Louisiana, but with the possibility of affecting similar state laws around the country. 

Abortion providers are challenging a 2014 state law requiring them to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

And, they argue, it could eliminate abortion access throughout the state.

Ellie Schilling is a lawyer with Lift Louisiana, which advocates for abortion.

Ellie Schilling: "If this law were to go into effect, it would really have a devastating impact on abortion access in Louisiana."

Hospitals tend to be reluctant to provide such access to abortionists because of the attention and stigma it would bring.

This law is virtually identical to a Texas statute the High Court struck down in 2016 by a vote of 5–3

If this law were to go into effect, it would really have a devastating impact on abortion access in Louisiana.

There, the court said the law did not pass the undue burden test for abortion seekers.

That case was decided before the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia had been replaced by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, who would almost certainly have made the final vote 5–4.

However, since that time, Justice Anthony Kennedy has been replaced by second Trump Justice Brett Kavanaugh, raising the very real possibility of a 5–4 decision in favor of supporting the law. 

Melissa Murray is an NYU law professor, watching this case.

Melissa Murray: "The fact that the Court has decided to take it up even though it clearly violates established Supreme Court precedent from just three and a half years ago, suggests that there are at least four justices on the court who are ready to call the question of abortion."

Forces on each side are watching this closely and with an expected June ruling at the end this term, whichever way it goes, it will almost certainly play into the presidential campaign.

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