Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Supreme Court Abortion Case

On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit about abortion. The lawsuit is a result of the controversial Texas abortion law I mentioned two years ago. The law in question says that doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that clinics must meet certain ambulatory standards. Depending on the definition of "nearby"--remember, Texas is a HUGE state--it's possible that Texas could be left with ten or fewer abortion clinics, whereas they had 46 abortion clinics before the law got passed.

In 1992, the Supreme Court had a case called Planned Parenthood VS Casey. The topic of that lawsuit was whether or not states can impose restrictions on abortion. The Supreme Court decided that it's legal for states to impose restrictions on abortion, provided that said restrictions do NOT place an "undue burden" on women, or block them from obtaining abortion services.

There have been arguments ever since, over what meets the Casey standard and what does not. Common restrictions that states place on abortion include waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and parental consent or notification for teenagers. Does the new Texas law constitute an "undue burden"? The lawsuit claims it does, saying that it forces women to travel over a hundred miles, in some cases, just to get an abortion.

The Supreme Court last heard a case on abortion in 2007, where they decided that states can ban partial-birth abortions. Justice Kennedy was the swing-vote in that case, and he's likely going to be the swing-vote in this case. The Supreme Court will hear the case in March, and their decision will come in June.

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