Could the Supreme Court’s latest actions result in a set-back for the pro-life community?
Wednesday, 10 of Texas’ 19 abortion clinics were set to close thanks to a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013. The law that would’ve required abortion clinics to maintain hospital-like standards was enough to force 10 clinics out of the abortion business. Those standards included, “minimum sizes for rooms and doorways, pipelines for anesthesia and other infrastructure,” according to the Texas Tribune.
In addition to the hospital-like standards requirement, physicians conducting abortions were required to, “have admitting privileges at local hospitals,” reported the Washington Post.
The law in question was the result of HB 2. HB 2 was thrust into the national spotlight when failed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and her pink Nikes filibustered the bill for approximately eleven hours. The filibuster failed to prevent the bill’s eventual passing.
“On June 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most provisions of the state’s strict abortion law, and then denied a request from abortion providers to delay the implementation of the abortion restrictions until they appealed to the high court. Abortion providers then turned to the Supreme Court, asking it to intervene before the restrictions went into effect,” reports the Texas Tribune.
Monday, the Supreme Court placed the law on hold.
The Washington Post reports:
The 5 to 4 ruling came in response to a request by abortion rights groups, which previously lost an appeal and had asked the Supreme Court to step in on an emergency basis. The ruling blocks the law until the court can give the law a more thorough review, perhaps as early as next fall. The court’s conservative bloc, however, would have denied the request, the order says.
Voting against delaying enactment of Texas’ law were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel A. Alito and Clarence Thomas.
The Texas Tribune reports:
Attorneys for the abortion providers had told the high court that the ruling would create “a severe shortage of abortion services” and that it would be difficult to increase “operational capacities” at remaining clinics because of how hard it is for doctors to obtain admitting privileges.
The admitting privileges provision closed about half the 41 abortion facilities that were operating in the state before the restrictions went into effect.
The abortion providers must still file their appeal to the Supreme Court, which is not scheduled to hear arguments until October, when its next term begins.
Given their decision Monday, it’s highly likely the Supreme Court will take this case in the fall term.
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