Amy Coney Barrett has only been a Supreme Court justice for a few weeks, and she’s already facing a test on abortion.
By Carter Sherman
Amy Coney Barrett has only been a Supreme Court justice for a little over a month, but the high court is already facing a case that could give the conservative darling a chance to dismantle abortion rights across much of the United States.
The Supreme Court announced Monday that the justices will meet on Friday to talk about whether to hear the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which involves a 2018 Mississippi law that banned all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law allows for abortions in medical emergencies or in cases of a severe fetal abnormality, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Alice Clapman, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Aug. 10, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services struck down a Louisiana law requiring doctors to have privileges at a local hospital in order to perform abortions. Alice Clapman, litigator for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says it’s time to recognize that many state abortion restrictions billed as “common sense health and safety regulations” are nothing more than tactics to hinder care, especially for rural communities and people of color who face systemic barriers to health care.
On June 29, in June Medical Services v. Russo (JMS), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would have left the state with only one abortion provider. From the moment the court’s fractured decision came down, commentators began speculating and debating whether it signals a shift. Had the court moved from the balancing test applied in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt to a more deferential test, one that would focus solely on the degree of burden imposed by a challenged restriction, without inquiring into whether that restriction serves any valid state interest?
A federal appeals court will allow Arkansas to create degrading new hurdles for people seeking abortions.
By Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern
Aug 07, 2020
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in June Medical v. Russo was hailed by many liberal court watchers as a win for reproductive rights, as the court declined to overturn Roe v. Wade and formally eliminate the right to an abortion. On Friday, however, a federal appeals court ruled that June Medical significantly narrowed the constitutional right to abortion access. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel swept away an injunction that had blocked Arkansas from enforcing a slew of abortion restrictions, including a requirement that patients pregnant as a result of rape notify their rapists before terminating their pregnancy. The appellate court’s decision confirms that Chief Justice John Roberts’ controlling opinion in June Medical will serve as a tool to eviscerate abortion rights. Those who briefly heralded him as a champion of reproductive freedom were too caught up in the halftime show to see the game.
A concurring opinion leaves the standard for determining the constitutionality of abortion restrictions in doubt.
Aug 4, 2020
At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in June Medical Services v. Russo. At issue was a Louisiana law, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. Like hundreds of similar state laws across the country, this law would have made abortion services difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in Louisiana.
A majority of the Court struck down the Louisiana law, but five justices did not agree on why the law was unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred only in judgment—and his concurrence may be the key to understanding what regulations the Court will or will not permit in the future.
by Corinne Ahrens
In June Medical Services v. Russo, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act—a predatory law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If left unchecked, the law had the potential to virtually eliminate abortion access across the state, leaving thousands of Louisianan-residents with no way to obtain a safe, legal abortion.
The Louisiana law argued in June Medical is identical to a Texas law struck down in the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, as both required a 30-mile admitting privilege requirement for physicians. Both laws purport to protect those seeking an abortion—but were actually intended to shut down clinics and deny abortion care to those who need it most.
Attacks on reproductive freedom have the greatest effect on communities that already face significant barriers to accessing health care.
Jul 20, 2020
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the implementation of a law that would have left just one clinic and one doctor authorized to perform abortions in Louisiana, a state of more than 4.5 million people and 50,000 square miles.
Even though four justices ignored the Court’s own precedent, the ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo gave reproductive health, rights, and justice supporters across the country the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. But as we began leafing through the pages of the opinions, cracks started to appear, reminding us that our freedom remains up for grabs and our fight is nowhere near over.
By: Clare Busch
July 17, 2020
On June 29, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to also have the ability to admit and treat patients at a local hospital. The same day, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a new mandatory 24-hour waiting period between consulting with a physician and having an abortion. Other state legislatures are back at work enacting new barriers on accessing abortion.
While abortion clinics prepare to navigate additional legal restrictions on patients’ reproductive rights, workers are also navigating how to safeguard patients’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, anti-abortion activists have flouted CDC guidelines by not wearing masks when they protest clinics and exploit new distancing protocols to increase patient harassment.
July 15, 2020
By David S. Cohen
June Medical v. Russo was a victory for Louisiana’s three independent abortion clinics and the thousands of people in the state they can now continue to serve. But, going forward, Chief Justice Roberts’ concurring opinion could pave the way for federal courts to bless a host of abortion restrictions that would make access to care more difficult.
To understand what might happen based on the Chief’s opinion, it’s instructive to look at Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that case, the Court announced the undue burden test, a test that in theory could have had bite. Per the decision, “An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”
July 01, 2020
Abortion rights advocates have reason to be relieved with the Supreme Court’s opinion Monday.
In a move that surprised many -- including me -- Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices and struck down a Louisiana law that would have greatly limited the number of abortions in the state, forcing many of the state's most vulnerable women to travel long distances, face delays or forgo care altogether. The court’s ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo will allow the state's remaining clinics to continue serving the 10,000 women who seek abortions annually.
The Supreme Court’s
abortion decision seems pulled from the ‘Casey’ playbook
Opinion by Melissa Murray
June 29, 2020
Depicted as a serpent or a dragon eating its own tail, the ouroboros in Greek
mythology was interpreted as a symbol of eternal renewal — the infinite cycle
of life, death and rebirth. Now, the ouroboros lives on in the Supreme Court’s
abortion jurisprudence and in the court’s invocation of the doctrine of stare
Latin for “let the decision stand,” stare decisis has shaped the court’s
abortion jurisprudence — and the public debate over abortion rights. Consider
the calls to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that
recognized a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Although abortion opponents
insist that Roe is both morally abhorrent and constitutionally unprincipled,
the court, citing deference to precedent, has declined multiple invitations to
overrule the decision.