In a decisions this morning, the Supreme Court overruled the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the admitting privileges and requirements that abortions be performed in an ambulatory surgical center are substantial obstacles on the ability to get an abortion, and so, by creating an undue burden, are unconstitutional! Holding:
Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution.
For people in Texas, this is the culmination of a three year fight over the omnibus abortion bill, HB 2. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt challenges two of its four provisions: the unnecessary and costly requirements that all abortion clinics must meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and the mandate that physicians providing abortion care must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the last major abortion case to be considered by the Supreme Court, the justices found that states could regulate abortion care, but that those regulations could not constitute an “undue burden” on those seeking their constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy. Lawyers for Whole Woman’s Health argued that these two provisions place an undue burden on people in Texas seeking abortion care.
In their decision, written by Justice Breyer with Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurring and Thomas, Alito, and the Chief Justice dissenting, the Supreme Court agrees.
For people in Texas, this means abortion will still be challenging to access. We’ll still have waiting periods, protestors, and a legislature determined to continue testing the boundaries of constitutionality, but make no mistake.
This is a huge win for the Texans who want the right to chose abortion, and need the ability to do so without an undue burden.
This ruling comes down three years after the filibuster brought thousands of Texans together at the capitol to fight back against restrictions to abortion access in Texas.