SCOTUS To Hear Case Challenging Texas Antiabortion Rules
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a challenge to parts of an omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2) that has already closed about half of the abortion clinics in Texas, the New York Times reports (Liptak, New York Times, 11/13).
According to Politico Pro, oral arguments will likely take place this spring, and a ruling is expected before the court's term concludes in June (Haberkorn, Politico Pro, 11/13).
The case centers on a Texas law that requires abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and mandates that abortion providers must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to temporarily block certain provisions in a Texas omnibus antiabortion-rights law from taking effect, allowing the remaining clinics in the state to stay open until the high court decides whether to review the case (New York Times, 11/13).
According to the Times, the Supreme Court in hearing the lawsuit could clarify its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the high court held that states cannot impose an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion prior to fetal viability. Under Casey, "unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion" are considered undue burdens (New York Times, 11/13).
According to Politico Pro, "dozens of states" have limited abortion access through measures such as delays, building code rules and ultrasound requirements since the Casey ruling.
Each side of the case appears to have the support of four of the nine justices. According to Politico Pro, Justice Anthony Kennedy likely will cast the deciding vote (Politico Pro, 11/13).
SCOTUS Asks for Response in Ark. 12-Week Abortion Ban Challenge
In related news, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked opponents of a partially overturned Arkansas law (Act 301) that bans abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy to respond by Dec. 10 to a state request to have the law upheld, AP/THV 11 reports (AP/THV 11, 11/12).
According to KARK 4 News, the Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the case (Lanning, KARK 4 News, 11/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.