Recent Supreme Court Decision on Abortion
Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt
Please note. We are not expressing an opinion on this ruling. We simply want to provide the service of letting our readers know about this important case.
On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against provisions of a Texas law relating to abortion. The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Read the full opinion here.
The Texas Law
Texas amended its laws relating to abortion in 2013. Included among the changes were two new requirements: and admitting privileges requirement and a minimum standards requirement. Quoting the Supreme Court those provisions were:
- A physician performing or inducing an abortion … must, on the date [of service], have active admitting privileges at a hospital…located not further than 30 miles from the abortion facility.
- Abortion facilities are required to meet minimum standards…for ambulatory surgical centers under Texas law.
In response to the challenge to these provisions, the Supreme Court held, “that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutions an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”
Justice Breyer, who drafted the Opinion wrote, “There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure.” Further, Justice Breyer wrote, that both requirements, “pose a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an undue burden on their constitutional right to do so.”
Similar Laws in Other States
Given this opinion, is is very likely that any similar laws in other states will also be held Unconstitutional should they be brought before the Court. In fact, the Justices will likely act tomorrow (Tuesday, June 28) on two similar laws from Mississippi and Wisconsin.
For further analysis, we recommend the SCOTUSblog, which provides detailed information on all Supreme Court cases.