- Demonstrators, in Washington, DC on June 27, celebrate at the US Supreme Court after it struck down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities that its critics contended were specifically designed to shut down clinics.
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Texas law that limited access to abortions, handing abortion-rights advocates a major victory.
While the decision directly affects only Texas, dozens of other states that have enacted similar laws will likely feel the effects.
The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, found that the law – which purported to make abortions safer – placed an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. According to the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, laws designed to limit abortion cannot pose a “serious obstacle” to women seeking the procedure.
The law in question, House Bill 2, or HB2, required abortion clinics to meet the structural standards of “ambulatory surgical centers” or low-risk surgery facilities. It also mandated that abortion doctors have admitting privileges with a hospital no more than 30 miles from the clinic.
The high court decided that the restrictions introduced by HB2 did, in fact, constitute an undue burden. The law had already prompted the closing of 20 Texas clinics and would have caused at least 10 more to close if upheld – leaving some rural women hundreds of miles away from a clinic.
Douglas NeJaime, a law professor at the UCLA School of Law, said:
“Now we know that the laws violate the constitutional rights of women to access abortion services. Laws in similar states are not going to…
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