Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana Abortion Restrictions as John Roberts Sides With Liberals

The Supreme Court rejected a Louisiana law that would restrict abortion access in a 5-4 vote.

The court threw out the law, which required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The Louisiana doctors and clinic that sued over the law argued that it would leave just one doctor at a single clinic to provide abortions for nearly 10,000 women each year.

The court already ruled the same way on a similar case in 2016 but new law was implemented after President Trump appointed conservative Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Both Trump appointees voted to uphold the restrictions but Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals to revoke the law.

Roberts on the fence:

Roberts did not exactly come out in favor of abortion rights in his opinion, which was issued separately from the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer. Instead, Roberts argued that the court had already ruled on the issue and the law had not changed.

"The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike," he said. "The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore, Louisiana's law cannot stand under our precedents . . . The result in this case is controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a nearly identical Texas law."

In 2016, the court ruled that the Texas law "provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an 'undue burden' on their constitutional right to do so."

Breyer says law imposed unconstitutional limits:

"The impact of those increases would be magnified by Louisiana's requirement that every woman undergo an ultrasound and receive," Breyer said in the majority opinion. "Both experts and laypersons testified that the burdens of this increased travel would fall disproportionately on poor women, who are least able to absorb them."


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