Last week, the Supreme Court made its first ruling on an abortion rights case since Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an outspoken anti-abortion advocate, was added to the bench. At stake in the case was a 2014 Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — a provision that in practice would reduce the number of qualified abortion providers in the state to just one doctor.
In a 5-4 ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court effectively put off a final decision by preventing the measure from taking effect until the court could review it more fully. The decision was made on partisan lines, with the exception of Chief Justice John Roberts who sided with the court’s liberal justices. In 2016, the court struck down a near-identical Texas law over the objections of Roberts and the court’s other conservative justices.
Despite legal precedent that bars states from placing an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion, states have continued to pass a variety of laws aimed at closing down abortion clinics, narrowing the window of legal abortion, and banning particular procedures. According to HuffPost, at least 16 abortion-related cases could soon be taken up by the court. And should Roberts revert to his prior opinions when making an ultimate ruling in the Louisiana case and others, similar laws are expected to rapidly be pursued by anti-abortion advocates nationwide.
In Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama, state governments have passed laws that ban one of the safest and most common forms of abortion in the 2nd trimester. The method, known as “dilation and extraction,” has been demonized by anti-abortion advocates as “dismemberment.” In Texas and Indiana, laws that mandate fetal tissue be buried or cremated are also potentially up for review by the nation’s highest court. Pro-choice advocates have said that such laws are designed to make it economically feasible for poor women to obtain abortions.
By aggressively passing such laws, a number of conservative states have effectively reduced the number of abortion providers available to a handful, making it virtually impossible for women who cannot afford to travel significant distances to obtain them. In states such as North Dakota and Kentucky, only one abortion clinic remains — and continued legislative efforts are underway to try to force their closure.
Read the full story at HuffPost.