The Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law in a 5-3 decision today. The Court held that state law enacted to regulate safety requirements for abortion procedures is unconstitutional because it might restrict women’s access to abortions, even though the law’s purpose was to ensure the health and safety of the mother.
This decision marks the first time the Court has considered an abortion issue in decades, and shows how clearly activist the Court remains regarding the pro-choice position.
The two requirements adopted by the Texas legislature in 2013 that were struck down by the Court were
- Requiring doctors who perform an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, and
- Requiring the facility performing the abortion to meet the medical standard of an outpatient surgical center.
Texas and its state lawyers argued that the law was for the purpose of ensuring proper medical care.
Consider if the Texas law contemplated health and safety regulations of any other routine medical procedure, from open-heart surgery to appendectomies. No reasonable person would take the position that the state government does not have a legitimate, compelling interest in the safety standards of medical procedures, the clinics offering the procedures, and the doctors performing them, and that the state cannot constitutionally impose restrictions on the medical profession within that scope.
So why is abortion different as a medical procedure in terms of the government’s legitimate interest in ensuring that patients receive proper medical care? Constitutional answer: It’s not.
The majority of the Court (read: all the liberals, including Kennedy) showed its activist agenda yet again to advance the sexual revolution regardless of even reasonable restraints. The mantra of the Court is to treat sexual social issues as fundamentally different than any other medical, familial, or legal issue.
The Texas law at issue here was deemed by the Court through a legal fiction to have too stringent of requirements, and the Court further inferred that the law’s actual or hidden purpose was simply to shut down abortion clinics.
For the majority, Justice Breyer said, “We conclude that neither of these provisions [standards for both the performing doctors and surgical facilities] offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places substantial obstacles in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal constitution.”
In a concurring opinion, Justice Ginsburg said it is “beyond rational belief that [the Texas law] could genuinely protect the health of women and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.” She went on to argue that the regulations would force some abortion providers to close and that women in “desperate circumstances” could be forced to obtain their abortions from “rogue practitioners.”
Can you imagine the Court justifying under-regulating the medical practice and safety standards for any other surgical procedure? The Court is actually arguing that the state cannot impose legitimate safety regulations because non-complying clinics could close. Isn’t that exactly the rationale for standardized medical practice and ensuring proper patient care? Should we stop regulating open-heart surgery just because a patient might be inconvenienced by having to travel a bit further to a medical center of competent practitioners at a competent location?
This case was not decided on the basis of the state’s legitimate interest in adequate medical standards. It’s about the agenda of the Left to not allow any restrictions, however legitimate, on a “woman’s right” to abortion.
Simply put, this case was decided on the basis of pro-choice versus pro-life as a social issue, not a legal one.
Jenna Ellis is an attorney, professor of law at Colorado Christian University, and international speaker.
Email Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org