Supreme Court again rescues the right to choose

460x-2

By a 5-3 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out a Texas law that tried to add so many unnecessary and expensive regulations on abortion clinics that they would be forced to close their doors, thus craftily undermining a woman’s right to choose. The law was dishonest to its core, as were its advocates, and in an opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court was clear in calling out that dishonesty:

“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”

Legally speaking, there should have been no mystery or doubt about the outcome of the case. Previous Supreme Court decisions had made it clear that government could not impose undue burdens on a woman’s right to choose, and the facts of the Texas case made it clear that adding undue burdens was exactly what the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry had attempted to achieve.

Already, the law has forced the closure of almost half the abortion clinics in the state, a fact that the law’s proponents have openly celebrated. Had the law been allowed to take full effect, the number of clinics serving Texas women would have dropped from 40 to seven or perhaps eight, leaving hundreds of thousands of Texas women with no clinic within a hundred miles.

As Breyer noted, Texas offered no health-based evidence that the provisions of the new law were necessary. To the contrary, unchallenged statistics prove that abortion continues to be a much safer procedure than many other clinic-based procedures allowed under Texas law. In fact, the strong safety record of abortion providers was cynically used against them by drafters of the law.

Under one major provision of the law, doctors who perform abortions must have admitting rights to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, even though post-abortion complications very rarely require such hospitalization. But here’s where the law’s cynicism really kicks in:

Hospital admission rights are often granted only to those doctors who refer a minimum number of patients to their facility. If you don’t refer enough patients, you don’t keep your right to admit patients. And as Breyer noted, using an example out of El Paso, that creates a neat little Catch-22:

“During the past 10 years, over 17,000 abortion procedures were performed at the El Paso clinic [and n]ot a single one of those patients had to be transferred to a hospital for emergency treatment, much less admitted to the hospital,” according to the testimony of an El Paso hospital executive in lower-court proceedings. And since abortion providers never admitted patients to the hospital, they thus would be unable maintain  their admitting hospital privileges, and would thus be denied the legal right to perform abortions.

That’s ingenious, in an extremely underhanded way. Thanks to a precarious court majority, it is also — for the time being, at least — unconstitutional.

 

Reader Comments 0

554 comments
bendedknee
bendedknee

Cons don't tell you the major judicial precedents for this decision were written by GOP appointed Justices- Hilarious!

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

The issue of abortion is a very controversial one, always has been always will be but we now know that life does begin before the fetus leaves the womb, the question is when and at what time can the child survive on it's own which has been proven to be before a normal birth process can take place. If a child is at a stage of development in the womb where the general Medical community says it can survive outside on its own then to abort it is murder plain and simple. God will judge all of us one day so as for me, I say those who purposely abort children will have to answer for that same as I will have to answer for my sins

honested
honested

@Infraredguy 

Many of us are entirely unconcerned about what 'you say'.

Anything up to 7 months is fine with me.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@honested Since you are already here, you must have gotten a lobotomy instead of an abortion, shame 

Vic
Vic

I'm so very happy that this decision will slap down all the other state statutes that were devised to prevent the constitutional right to abortion.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Vic There is NO Constitutional right to abortion, it's been given by Roe vs Wade in the Congress, not by the Constitution 

Vic
Vic

@Infraredguy @Vic  Roe v Wade was beget by the Supreme Ct -- Sandra Day O'Conner wrote the opinion -- it came from a long line of Sup Ct cases -- Griswold v CT, Loving v VA, and going back to the early 20th C -- the line said that people have certain rights to privacy and the control of their own bodies and to procreate or not, as they wish.  Congress cannot write Supreme Court opinions.  There's this troublesome "separation of powers" thing.  Bless your heart. 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Vic Again, there is no Constitutional right to abortion it's been interpreted as such by the Courts and Congress

honested
honested

@Infraredguy @Vic 

There is a right to privacy.

There is a right to freedom from religion.

Abortion is performed in a private situation.

The only group routinely opposed are religious freaks.

Pretty much sums it up.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Infraredguy @Vic

There is NO Constitutional right to abortion

Yes there is, as long as the SCOTUS says there is.

You can stomp your feet and cry otherwise all ya want. Not gonna change it.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@honested @Infraredguy @Vic

And even though it wasn't, apparently, argued in Roe, I continue to assert that being "secure in your person" certainly applies to a woman's right NOT to be forced at gunpoint to carry every pregnancy to term.

Habrams01
Habrams01

I am a Republican, I believe in liberty.  I also believe that personal responsibility doesn't give me the right to choose for you.  Just as I don't believe you have the right to choose for me.

FloydLiberal
FloydLiberal

The answer is simple . If you don't want an abortion, don't get one.

honested
honested

@NWGAL 

Somehow, that is just too complicated for the religious nuts.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@NWGAL There is more to it than that, it's not that simple. Example, since we now know when a person is terminally ill, do we have the right to let them die by withholding life prolonging drugs?

stephenbox
stephenbox

The Catch-22 explained by Justice Breyer is the single most damning argument. Regardless of your stance on the issue in question, it is patently unconstitutional to craft contradictory legislation or a law that imposes conditions impossible to meet.

Ken430TX
Ken430TX

Killing puppies is illegal.  It's too bad the SCOTUS doesn't see fit to protect innocent babies too.

bendedknee
bendedknee

Clarence raving and ranting like a lunatic because  his master is not there any more  to argue the GOP position.

gotalife
gotalife

The gop never try to win trust back.


They never admit mistakes or learn from them.


They repeat mistakes on purpose.


There is no trust in the gop and their media. Period.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Since we are on Hillary's trust issue.

What has become of America's character and morals.

Back in the day, not that long ago, anyone under FBI investigation would have been shunned to insignificance if trying to run for a national office.

Today we have Hillary under investigation.

Not only does she run, but 70% of Dems think she should run even if indicted.

Sad commentary on progress.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kamchak @JohnnyReb Fox News poll showed 65% with the same question.

There is no doubt a majority of Dems think she should continue if indicted.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@JohnnyReb @Kamchak


Do you have nocturnal emissions dreaming about her being indicted?


It ain't gonna happen. She did what Powell did. She did what Rice did. This will never, ever, rise to the level of indictment, it is an election year ploy to cast her in a negative light. Typical Republican ratfuggery.


You strive so mightily to make your fantasy world be true.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

Not only does she run, but 70% of Dems think she should run even if indicted.

Ragamuffin push poll.

LOL

Paul42
Paul42

@gotalife

Not a chance.  It'll be dismissed as the Obama Administration and Justice Department conspiring to subvert the law to protect her.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Been out of touch all day, just catching up here.  Pat on the back to the Supremes for telling the Texas social conservatives to mind their own damn business.

gotalife
gotalife

Hillary is the only pol working on the trust issue. She does not like Americans not trusting her and talking about it. She will work to earn your trust. She admits mistakes and learn from them.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@gotalife IMO she admits the mistakes she knows will come out sooner or later anyway.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@gotalife she could work till the grave and not regain the trust.

She continues to dig the hole deeper.

Plus, its not over for her.

The accusations are just beginning to mount more.

The Dem establishment says its recycled news.

However there are a generation of new voters who have not heard her missteps before.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@SFM_Scootter @gotalife a bank robber admitting he robbed the bank does not get him off the hook.

Many of Hillary's transgressions exceed robbing a bank. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@SFM_Scootter @JohnnyReb @gotalife she had ambassador Steven's schedule on her server.

She was hacked.

Do you really think the terrorists attacked on 9/11 because of the anniversary and it was just their luck Stevens was there?