Supreme Court ruling imperils abortion laws in many states

Stock image, St. George News

 NEW YORK (AP) — By striking down tough abortion restrictions in Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court has emboldened abortion-rights activists nationwide and imperiled a range of anti-abortion laws in numerous states.

Many anti-abortion leaders were openly disappointed, bracing for the demise of restrictions that they had worked vigorously to enact over the past few years.

The Supreme Court has decided “the abortion industry will continue to reign unchecked as mothers are subjected to subpar conditions,” said Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.

Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday after the court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation's second-most populous state. Washington D.C., June 27, 2016 | Photo by  Evan Vucci (AP), St. George News
Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday after the court struck down Texas’ widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation’s second-most populous state. Washington D.C., June 27, 2016 | Photo by Evan Vucci (AP), St. George News

On the other side of the debate, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards hailed the ruling as “an enormous victory for women,” and joined her abortion-rights allies in vowing to quickly seek gains beyond Texas.

“Far too many women still face insurmountable barriers, which is why we are taking this fight state by state,” she said. “It’s time to pass state laws to protect a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, and repeal ones that block it.”

The Texas rules struck down Monday by the Supreme Court required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery. Supporters of the Texas law, and similar laws enacted in other states, said both provisions were necessary to ensure safe, high-quality care for women. Opponents of the laws said abortion already is a very safe procedure, and contended the real motive of the laws was to reduce women’s access to abortion.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the legal challenge, similar admitting-privilege requirements are in effect in Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee, and are on hold in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The hospital-like outpatient surgery standards are in place in Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and are on hold in Tennessee, according to the center.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court followed up its Texas ruling by rejecting appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin seeking to put in place admitting-privilege restrictions that were struck down by lower courts.

Read more: Supreme Court strikes down Texas restrictions on abortions

Mississippi’s law would have closed the lone abortion clinic in the state. It required doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics; providers at the clinic in Jackson had been unable to obtain such privileges.

“It’s very disappointing, said the sponsor of the Mississippi law, state Rep. Sam Mims. “It seems like these five justices are more concerned about access to abortion than health care to the women.”

In Alabama, Attorney General Luther Strange said his office is ending the legal fight over its law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital-admitting privileges. The state had been appealing a judge’s 2014 decision finding Alabama’s law unconstitutional.

If the admitting privilege requirement was enforced, as many as four of the state’s five abortion clinics could close.

The legislative director of Louisiana Right to Life, Deanna Wallace, said the Supreme Court decision doesn’t automatically invalidate Louisiana’s Texas-style law, but it “does not predict a favorable forecast for its future.”

In several states, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan and Missouri, state officials said they were reviewing the status of their abortion restrictions in light of the high court ruling

In Pennsylvania, a Democratic state senator, Daylin Leach, said he would introduce legislation seeking to repeal a 2011 law that tightened requirements at abortion clinics. The law requires such clinics to comply with the same safety standards as outpatient surgery centers, including requirements for wider hallways and doorways, bigger operating rooms, and full-time nurses.

The law was signed by then-Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, in the aftermath of a Philadelphia criminal case in which an abortion provider, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was convicted of killing newborn babies during illegal, late-term abortion procedures performed in filthy surroundings.

An abortion-rights lawyer, Sue Frietsche, said the law inflicted heavy financial burdens on abortion clinics throughout Pennsylvania and contributed to the closure of several of them.

Looking ahead, a key question for both sides in the abortion debate is to what extent Monday’s ruling will affect other types of abortion restrictions, beyond the two provisions at stake in the Texas law.

For example, more than a dozen states have passed laws banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. Several states have recently banned dilation-and-extraction, a common second-trimester abortion technique which opponents have depicted as “dismemberment abortion.” Some states now require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.

Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said her legal team will be reviewing these and other laws to determine if they are now vulnerable in the aftermath of Monday’s high court ruling.

In the ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the Texas requirements provided few, if any, health benefits for women, while placing “an undue burden” on their constitutional right to seek an abortion.

The question ahead, Northup said, is whether other types of state restrictions also pose such a burden.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if responsible lawmakers realize they need to start upholding women’s rights or continue with this game of Whack-a-Mole that’s been going on,” said Northup, referring to states that launched new anti-abortion legislation even as earlier measures were blocked by litigation.

Written by: DAVID CRARY, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kansas; Jeff Karoub in Detroit; Travis Loller in Nashville, Tennessee; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bryna Godar in Madison, Wisconsin; and Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans contributed to this report.


Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Bob June 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    They should get a pride event going that celebrates abortions and homosexuality in the same parade. along with the rest of the LGBTQ-xyz crowd they can invite along other alternative lifestyle supporters which i won’t name (cuz muh comment might get axxed, LOL). We’ll call it the anti-morality parade.

    • .... June 28, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      They should have a gay Zionist expertise parade for you . and that way you wont feel left out ! make sure you got your meds

    • .... June 29, 2016 at 9:10 am

      anti morality eh ? looked in the mirror again did you ! That’s some funny stuff right there. …!

  • Bob June 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    everyone marching in the parade will be required to hold up a plastic baby doll impaled on a big wood skewer to represent their support of abortion along with holding up all the rainbow flags, and wearing rainbow thongs. this parade will be glorious! let’s get it stg!

  • ladybugavenger June 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Get some more camping gear Bob, and extra water….I’m running to the hills with you

    • .... June 28, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      Gives Ladybug a bag of marshmellows and a stick with a can of spam and a bottle of Aquafina and a pay phone card …have a nice trip ladybug ! LOL ☆☆☆☆☆ be safe out there !

      • ladybugavenger June 29, 2016 at 9:34 am

        I like marshmallows.

    • Bob June 29, 2016 at 1:25 am

      if u do that, you’ll miss the gay/abortion pride parade 😉

      • .... June 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

        Well they’re still having the gay Bob parade !

  • ladybugavenger June 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    And yes all my lgbtqrstuvwxyz friends I am against abortion too. 🙂

    • ladybugavenger June 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      In no way would I want to stop any of you from your choice to abort. You have the choice to murder, steal, lie, cheat, manipulate, suicide. have parades, have same sex, marry your cousin, have sex with your dog, whatever your heart desires. I wouldn’t want to take your civil rights away. You have a choice.

      • .... June 29, 2016 at 9:07 am

        I’m sure dumbob appreciates that !

  • .... June 28, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Have a nice day ladybug. ! ☆☆☆☆☆

  • godisdead June 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

    It’s interesting how Bob talks about everyone else’s morals, when his morals on display continually spew hate for the gays. You need to have you God transport you back to your happier time – Nazi Germany.
    You right wingers continually wage your verbal war against abortion, with misinformation (lies from the moral right). The pro-abortion people don’t exist. They are pro-choice. This means that a woman has a right to decide what to do with THEIR bodies. There are circumstances, unfortunately, when an abortion might be the answer; birth defects, the mother’s life, rape, incest. The supreme court has agreed that abortion is legal (under certain circumstances).
    I find the thought of abortion distasteful, but there are things that can be done to reduce the numbers, primarily birth control and sex education. Get on board the sex ed train Bob and ladybug. This is the best way to reduce abortion.

    • Bob June 29, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      not hateful of gays at all, and not in favor of full abortion bans. I just think it’s distasteful how they go about parading around their “pride” and their “victories”. Like I’ve said, if they want respect they need to learn to respect themselves.

      • Bob June 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

        the ultra-feminists and a lot of gays make the rest of them look bad with their flagrant displays of public degeneracy. fact…

        • godisdead June 29, 2016 at 9:11 pm

          What do your displays of intolerance tell us about you? You need to get over your fears. If it’s ok to see a guy and a girl walking down the sidewalk, holding hands, and maybe even sneaking in a kiss, then it should be ok for the LGBT community.

          • .... June 30, 2016 at 10:52 am

            Bob hates everybody including himself. he’s just an all bigot that hates the world and everything in it. Bob has some serious issues and ignorance is one of them.

          • ladybugavenger June 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

            I don’t like seeing a guy and a girl kiss in public, all swapping spit, ewwwwww get a room! So I suppose I would feel the same about same sex couples. Fair enough?

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