Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion clinic law

Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion clinic law

One of the doctors already has admitting privileges. He was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose judicial approach to abortion was relatively unclear at the time of his confirmation.

"The law has not yet taken effect, so the case comes to us in the context of a pre-enforcement facial challenge", he noted, explaining that there could always be a later challenge if necessary when the law went into effect. Challengers raced to court and said the law was a veiled attempt to block abortions. Another ThinkProgress headline states ominously and confusingly: "Hope is all that's left, with Roe v. Wade in Louisiana". And what does it mean for the broader conversation about the future of legal abortion in this country?

Yet it is unavoidable that the fate of reproductive autonomy as a fundamental right rests in the hands of one man: Chief Justice John Roberts.

7 blocked a Louisiana law that required doctors carrying out abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing the dissent. If that sounds familiar, it should. Has the chief justice had a change of heart and grown to understand that abortion rights without access are meaningless?

In that case, the high court voted 5-3 to rule that portions of a Texas law regulating abortion doctors and clinics constitute an "undue burden" on a woman's right to abort her child and are therefore unconstitutional.

First, let's get a few details out of the way.

Since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer, Roberts has become the court's new swing vote. "But somehow, when a conservative lower court merely allows a state to mind its own business in a case that might brush up against a recent Supreme Court decision he himself disagreed with and now has the votes to overturn, Roberts parachutes in to overturn the lower court". "Essentially, he argues that there isn't yet any evidence that the Louisiana law will have any immediate effect on abortion access". The Supreme Court could decide this spring whether to add the case to their calendar for the term that begins in October.

Thursday's vote was about process. "But frankly, I just think it's, it's too early to make that kind of decision", Collins said on NBC's "Meet The Press". That would be a tacit acknowledgment that a majority of the justices no longer support the 2016 decision, and an invitation to anti-abortion state legislatures to pass more laws aimed at gutting Roe v. Wade without reversing it outright. The act was scheduled to take effect on Friday.

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In 2007, Roberts voted to uphold a federal ban on an abortion method its opponents call partial-birth abortion.

The doctors have a 45-day regulatory transition period in which to obtain privileges from hospitals and could bring a complaint at the conclusion of that time if they are unsuccessful, Kavanaugh wrote.

That the case made its way to the U.S. supreme court at all shows the power of federal appeals court judges, which the Trump administration has made a priority of confirming.

Kavanaugh's dissent proves this point.

The Supreme Court in 2016 struck down a Texas law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges.

Pro-choice groups counter that the law will leave just one abortion provider in the state. It's the fact that he made it at all.

- Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) February 8, 2019 Susan Collins voted to confirm Kavanaugh on the ridiculous claim that he'd uphold Roe. "The abortion lobby's relentless opposition to regulations like these exposes the industry's drive for profits above all else". "But if you read the dissent, it's on the most narrow possible grounds".

Thursday night's Louisiana ruling may have only delayed the coming upheaval.

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