Supreme Court ruling on Louisiana abortion case could signal future of Roe v Wade

The case may be decided as early as Monday

Last Updated:
June 22, 2020 - 3:47pm

All eyes are on the Supreme Court this week over a Louisiana abortion case that could signal the direction the country's highest court may take in revisiting protections that were first granted in Roe v. Wade.

This is the Supreme Court 's first major ruling on abortion rights since Donald Trump-nominated Chief Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch took the bench. Chief Justice John Roberts is also under the microscope as he could provide a tie-breaking vote.

June Medical Services v. Russo derives from a 2014 law passed by Louisiana’s Republican-led legislature required physicians who perform abortions to hold “active admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility.

In practice, this meant abortion-performing physicians had to be members of the nearby hospital’s medical staff, have the authority to admit patients there and be able to perform relevant diagnoses and surgery.

The case is similar to Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a case the Supreme Court struck down four years ago as unconstitutional. This case centered on a Texas law requiring doctors preforming abortions to have admission privileges to hospitals within 30 miles. The law also required abortion clinics to meet the same standard requirements as outpatient facilities.

In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court found the law created “undue burden” for women seeking abortions, adding unnecessary medical precautionary measures interfering with a woman’s right to choose.

Despite the similarities of the Louisiana law and the unconstitutional Texas law, a U.S. Court of Appeals found the laws differed substantially. The law, according to the court, did not overly burden a large portion of the female population in the state.

However, Kathaleen Pittman, the administrator of Hope Medical Group for Women in Louisiana and the lead plaintiff in the case, told Good Morning America that the state, which currently has three abortion clinics available, would likely be left with one clinic and one physician with admission privileges.

The case, which may be decided as early as Monday, follows two other Supreme Court rulings last week that were surprising wins for liberals.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ workers rights and ruled to upload the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S. as young children from deporation.

Donald Trump expressed his concerns in a tweet saying: “These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else.”



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