Supreme Court Takes Up Case That Could Decide the Future of Legal Abortion [UPDATED]

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case concerning the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admissions privileges at hospitals within a 30-mile radius. The case, Gee v. June Medical Services, is nearly identical to a Texas case the court heard three years ago. But that was a different court.

The earlier case before the court, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, found that the Texas omnibus law was unconstitutional and placed a “substantial burden” on people seeking abortions in the state. So why would the Supreme Court take on such a similar case? Because President Trump has two new justices on the court.

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This is the first abortion case the Supreme Court has heard since the swearing-in of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

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The Supreme Court said in the Texas case that neither was needed to protect women’s health and that both requirements imposed “a substantial burden” on a woman’s right to abortion.

Louisiana has conceded that its law is virtually identical to the Texas law. The difference between then and now is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who cast the decisive fifth vote in the 2016 Texas case, has retired and been replaced by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, who has indicated his willingness to undermine or discard the 2016 decision.

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With an already conservative-leaning Supreme Court, the decision that is made here could set a frightening precedent for Roe v. Wade.

Planned Parenthood released the following statement in response to the news:

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Update, 11:20 a.m.: Mia Raven, Policy Director at Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, has released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to take on June vs. Gee:

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear June v. Gee should have every person who believes in accessible, legal abortion worried. A reversal of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt will put not just every abortion clinic in Alabama in danger, but most of the clinics in the South, too. We know that one distinct route for the Supreme Court to undo abortion rights is to leave Roe intact and abortion technically legal – but close the clinics in order to make it impossible to actually obtain one. We will be watching this case closely to see if the conservative wing of the bench is going to overthrow precedent just to appease the far-right politicians that gave them their seats. If they do, we pledge to continue to do whatever it takes to keep abortion safe and accessible for marginalized communities in the South.

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This is a breaking story. We will provide updates as we learn more.

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Ashley Reese

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.