June v. Gee: When the Issue Involves Pregnancy and Abortion Inconsistency Should Come as No Surprise
February 16, 2020
Lynn M. Paltrow
Edited by: Tim Zubizarreta
This year, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider June Medical Services v. Gee, the first abortion case since Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh became members of that court. The Court will rule on the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that is identical to a Texas law struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court held that a Texas law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital was unconstitutional because it imposed a substantial and undue burden on women seeking abortions. Three years later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ignored this precedent and reached the opposite conclusion, deciding that an identical admitting-privileges law in Louisiana did not impose a substantial or undue burden.
Contradictory? Yes. But these rulings are also in keeping with a Court that has never arrived upon a consistent view of the rights of the 51% of people who have the capacity for pregnancy – the precursor to abortion. Stories from two other Supreme Court cases illustrate this.