The Supreme Court hears its first major abortion case Wednesday since two Trump nominees joined the bench, potentially signalling whether—and how much——reproductive rights may change under a bolstered conservative majority.
“There’s a lot on the line in this case, and more than most people realize,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University and author of the forthcoming book “Abortion and the Law in America.”
Most prominently, the case involves the Supreme Court’s approach to precedent, since it largely is a replay of an issue the court decided in 2016, when by a 5-3 vote it struck down a Texas law requiring that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The case also tests the strategy for antiabortion forces, who have been divided over the best way to roll back court precedents recognizing women’s constitutional right to end pregnancy. While some advocates seek to reverse outright Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision recognizing abortion rights, others believe a more prudent approach is to carve away at the precedent through increasingly restrictive regulations that would spare the Supreme Court the controversy of directly overruling a landmark case.
The law in question, known as the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, isn’t based on a state policy to protect potential life, an interest that the Supreme Court has recognized as valid justification for some abortion restrictions.
Instead, it is based on the argument that abortion itself can be harmful to women, and that restricting access to the procedure therefore is beneficial to women. For that reason, the state’s brief contends that abortion providers shouldn’t be permitted to challenge the law on behalf of their patients, arguing that “a serious conflict of interest” exists between them and Louisiana’s women.
In striking down the Texas law in 2016, the court found the admitting-privilege requirement provided no health benefits to women while forcing many of the state’s abortion clinics to close.
Read the rest at: SCOTUS Abortion