The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument in the Texas abortion clinic case that shut down most of the clinics in that state.
This is the first major abortion case the Court has heard in seven years, and as ThinkProgress explains, it could effectively end a woman's right to choose.
On Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear two cases involving ambitious state laws seeking to restrict — or even eliminate — access to abortion. This is actually the second week in a row that the justices will discuss whether to hear these cases, Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, although the Court’s recent practice has been to discuss a case during at least two conferences before announcing that the Court will take the case. If the justices agree to hear either or both cases, they could announce this fact as soon as Friday afternoon.
The Court is widely expected to agree to hear at least one of these cases — which present the biggest threat to a woman’s right to obtain an abortion that has reached the Court since 1992’sPlanned Parenthood v. Casey, a case that explicitly led the justices to consider whether Roe v. Wadeshould be overruled.
Cole involves a Texas law that imposes onerous new credentialing requirements on doctors and similarly onerous building requirements on abortion clinics. Together, these restrictions are expected to shut down over 80 percent of the abortion clinics in Texas. Currier involves a Mississippi law that imposes similar credentially requirements to the ones imposed in Texas. If this law goes into effect, it’s expected to shut down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.
Both laws fit a strategy embraced by anti-abortion activists and state lawmakers in recent years. Lawmakers can and should regulate abortion clinics to ensure that they are safe and pay proper regard for the health of patients. A state may require that all abortions be performed by adequately trained physicians, for example. Or it may mandate the use of sterile equipment where appropriate. The Texas and Mississippi laws, however, try to drive a wedge into the space current legal doctrine carves out for laws protecting women’s health.
If the Supreme Court upholds the Texas law, it will put an end to Roe v. Wade, because states will simply legislate abortion clinics out of existence. There's not much choice when there's nowhere to go to exercise that choice.
There are three Supreme Court justices who will likely retire during the next President's term. Elections do matter, especially when it comes to women's health.