Two provisions of a Texas 2013 abortion access law were stripped away Monday morning in a 5-3 ruling by the Supreme Court, and abortion rights advocates are cheering in victory.
Two provisions of the law were struck down:
- The law said that doctors performing abortions must also have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
- Clinics were required to updated their facilities to hospital-like standards.
Abortion advocates had argued that the law would place additional burdens on clinics to raise their standards, and would effectively shut down many abortion clinics in the state. The Associated Press said when Governor Rick Perry signed the law in 2013 there were about 40 clinics in the state – only about half remain, and out of the 20 left, many of those clinics would be forced to close if the law was allowed to stand.
Texas is among 10 states with similar admitting privileges requirements, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. The requirement is in effect in most of Texas, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. It is on hold in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito all voted in favor of keeping the law, but they were outnumbered.
Thomas wrote a bitter dissent for himself, accusing the court of eroding the Constitution.
“The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution,” Thomas wrote. “But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others. … A law either infringes a constitutional right, or not; there is no room for the judiciary to invent tolerable degrees of encroachment. Unless the Court abides by one set of rules to adjudicate constitutional rights, it will continue reducing constitutional law to policy-driven value judgments until the last shreds of its legitimacy disappear.”
Hillary Clinton, who is in favor of full abortion rights and a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood, celebrated the victory with a Twitter message, then she confirmed she intends to take it even further:
This fight isn’t over: The next president has to protect women’s health. Women won’t be “punished” for exercising their basic rights. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 27, 2016
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