No matter what the Supreme Court decides, abortion opponents have already won
As the Supreme Court considers a Louisiana law, this is how anti-abortion groups see the direction of the country.
By Anna North
Mar 5, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC — Standing in front of the US Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, Dennis McKirahan was in a hopeful mood. “It’s a great day,” he said, glancing at the blue sky. “The sun is shining in me and outside.”
He and around a dozen other activists were with the group Shofar Call International, a Christian group that blows a horn typically used in Jewish ceremonies called the shofar as part of anti-abortion demonstrations and religious events. “In Hebrew the Shofar is also referred to as the Bat Kol or the Voice of Heaven,” the group’s website states. “When the enemy hears the Voice of Heaven being proclaimed in the earth, he trembles in fear.”
An Abortion Clinic’s Fate Before a Transformed Supreme Court
The court will soon hear arguments in its first major abortion case since the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. It could leave Louisiana with a single abortion clinic.
By Adam Liptak
March 3, 2020
SHREVEPORT, La. — Kathaleen Pittman, the director of the Hope Medical Group for Women, remembers when there were 11 abortion clinics in Louisiana. Now there are only three, hers among them. Soon, depending on how the Supreme Court rules in a case to be argued on Wednesday, there may be just one, in New Orleans, more than 300 miles away.
Since 1973, when the court established a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, Louisiana has enacted 89 abortion restrictions, the most of any state. The restriction at issue nowrequires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
The Next Big Abortion Case Comes Down to John Roberts
By Irin Carmon, The Intelligencer
Feb. 28, 2020
Almost four years ago, I sat on a cable-news set waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down a ruling on a Texas abortion law that, reputable medical organizations agreed, amounted to a bogus justification for shutting down abortion clinics. The live feed was trained on candidate Hillary Clinton’s Cincinnati rally, featuring Elizabeth Warren, who had just endorsed her.
Alike in blonde bobs and jewel tones, if not much else, the two raised their clasped hands to the sky in a show of party unity and the hint of an all-female ticket, or at least a future in which reproductive autonomy, along with everything else, didn’t depend on the whims of a tiny number of white men. The particular man we were waiting on that day was Justice Anthony Kennedy. Minutes later, the networks cut away to announce that his vote in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt would keep the clinics open, ruling that the Texas law placed an unconstitutional burden on women.
Abortion storytellers and the harassment they face
By Steph Herold, opinion contributor
Next month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in June Medical Services v. Gee, the first major abortion-related case to come before the Court since Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment to the bench. The case largely focuses on a Louisiana law designed to close abortion clinics by imposing the exact requirements that the Court declared unconstitutional in the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
Yet this time around, abortion opponents are arguing that only patients, not abortion providers (such as Whole Woman’s Health or June Medical Services), should be able to bring these cases and that nothing prevents patients from doing so. This raises an unusual and pertinent question: is it reasonable to expect people seeking time-sensitive, stigmatized health care to drop everything and sue their state?
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.
How the Supreme Court Could Gut Reproductive Rights Without Ruling on a Single Abortion Restriction
February 10 2020
Julie Bindeman’s first pregnancy went so smoothly, and she and her husband were so enamored with their newborn son, that the couple decided to try for a second child as soon as possible. They conceived easily — just as they had the first time around — but then Bindeman miscarried. That reframed her thinking around pregnancy. “It wasn’t just, you get pregnant and have a baby, which had been my first experience,” she said. “Well, you can get pregnant and not have a baby, and that can happen really early.”
The couple decided to try again. Bindeman was anxious during the first trimester, bracing for another miscarriage. But that didn’t happen, and things seemed to be proceeding well. Then, at the 20-week mark, they received devastating news after a routine ultrasound: The fetus’s brain was not developing properly. If the fetus were to survive to term, it would never develop beyond a 2-month-old — it wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, or feed itself. “Our lives completely turned upside down,” Bindeman said.
For Supporters Of Abortion Access, Troubling Trends In Texas
November 18, 2019
(also 6-minute podcast)
Whole Woman's Health, which provides abortions in Texas, was forced to close its Beaumont clinic in 2014 as a result of House Bill 2 taking effect. Despite the Supreme Court's overturning the law, most of the shuttered clinics in the state never managed to reopen.
Pu Ying Huang
Over the past few years, abortion providers in Texas have struggled to reopen clinics that had closed because of restrictive state laws.
There were more than 40 clinics providing abortion in Texas on July 12, 2013 — the day lawmakers approved tough new restrictions and rules for clinics.
John Roberts plays a waiting game on ‘Roe v. Wade’
By Harry Litman, Contributing columnist
February 13, 2019
The Supreme Court last week suspended a Louisiana abortion law, the justices' first significant action in an abortion case since the appointment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. What does the decision portend for the future of Roe v. Wade in particular and reproductive rights in general?
The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, centers on a challenge to a provision in the Louisiana law (named, tellingly, “the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act”) requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic where they perform abortions. The ostensible idea is to have quick access to a hospital in the event something goes awry, threatening the health of the mother. Critics argued that the effect of the law would be to reduce to one (from the current four) the number of doctors who can perform abortions at the state’s three operating clinics.
Millions of Women Already Live in a Post-Roe America: A Journey Through the Anti-Abortion South
January 18 2019
Video by Maisie Crow, Lauren Feeney
I met Danielle in the counseling room of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi, which sits on a busy corner in the city’s arts district. Its vibrant pink paint job has earned it the name “the Pink House,” and it is the state’s only remaining abortion clinic.
Dressed in gray sweatpants and a T-shirt, Danielle looked pensive as she sat in a narrow room in the back of the building alongside 12 other women there for abortion care. Betty Thompson, a counselor who has worked at the clinic for 24 years, stood before the women, ready to walk them through the necessary paperwork and go over next steps.