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BREAKING: Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana law on abortion clinics

The Roberts court ruled in a 5-4 decision to block a Louisiana abortion law

Updated: June 29, 2020 - 11:33am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook



The Supreme Court on Monday issued a 5-4 ruling blocking a Louisiana law that forbade doctors from performing abortions unless they held admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote, opting to side with the liberal-leaning block of the court.

The case stems from a challenge to a 2014 law passed in Louisiana by the state legislature that required abortion practitioners to have "active admitting privileges" at hospitals within 30 miles of their facilities. This meant that physicians who performed abortions had to also be members of a nearby hospital's medical staff and have certain authorities at the hospital, such as admitting patients and being able to perform relevant surgeries.

The initial federal district court ruled that the law was unconstitutional did not provide any significant health benefits to women and would force the closure of two abortion clinics in a state that only had three.

The district court's decision was overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

The case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, involved a past ruling of the court's from 2016, when the high court struck down a Texas law that it found to be unconstitutional. That case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which was decided in a 5-3 vote, was very similar to the one the court decided Monday. 

One speculation going into theruling was that the reputation of the Roberts' court would suffer if the body used the Louisiana case to overturn its previous ruling on the Hellerstedt case.

Though Roberts was not the deciding vote in 2016, and the court has added several conservative-leaning justices since that time, Roberts has made it clear that a top priority of his is maintaining the integrity of the court. 

This is the third time this month that Roberts has sided with the liberals of the court on a hot-button social issue.

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