On Monday, June 26, 2020, the Supreme Court announced that the Louisiana law should not stand.
The case challenged a Louisiana law that required providers who performed abortions to also have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital, however, providers stated this was not necessary and the requirement was unrelated to health outcomes which provider believe only served to prevent them from performing abortions. Admitting privileges are difficult to obtain for doctors who perform abortions. Hospitals would prefer to not be associated with abortions due to the stigma.
The Supreme Court’s opinion was written by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Chief Justice John Roberts filed an opinion concurring for the majority.
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in a case in Texas that was nearly identical. It caused an “undue burden” on patients who were seeking abortions. The law caused almost half the clinics in Texas to close down. Breyer stated that the Louisiana law was “almost word-for-word identical to Texas’ admitting-priveledges law.” This was supposed to set the precedent for laws like this that “do little or nothing for health, but rather straw impediments to abortion cannot survive judicial inspection,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a concurring opinion, referencing a lower court case.
In 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision on the Louisiana law ruling that the admitting-privileges law could stand. This was the action that brought the case to the Supreme Court.
The makeup of the Supreme Court has changed since 2016. Liberal-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy retired and Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016. Their replacements, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are seen as more conservative.
By Jeanette Vietti
ABC: Supreme Court hands down major decision reaffirming abortion rights
USA Today: Supreme Court strikes down abortion clinic restrictions in Louisiana, a defeat for conservatives
Axios: Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion law
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