Monday, July 04, 2016


The U.S. Supreme Court gets it right!

"Abortion rights activists hail Supreme Court ruling against doctor restrictions" PBS NewsHour 6/27/2016


SUMMARY:  In the Supreme Court’s biggest abortion case in nearly 25 years, the justices voted 5-3 to strike down a Texas law — widely copied in other states — that imposed tight restrictions on family planning centers and doctors who perform the procedure.  Abortion rights groups were ecstatic and both sides vowed to fight on.  Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal joins Gwen Ifill to dig into the ruling.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  We return to the historic day at the Supreme Court.

Abortion rights advocates claimed a huge victory as the eight-member court came down 5-3 against a restrictive Texas anti-abortion law.

For more on end-of-term decision, we turn to “NewsHour” regular Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent of “The National Law Journal.”

Marcia, just to be clear, we’re talking about two different restrictive — anti, restrictive laws that were returned today.

MARCIA COYLE, “The National Law Journal”:  Right.

GWEN IFILL:  How did this court — take us back.


GWEN IFILL:  How did this case get to the court?


The abortion clinics in Texas, a group of them, challenged the two Texas regulations that were contained in a law that is now known as HB-2.  It was enacted back in 2013.  The two regulations, one required clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic.

The second regulation required the clinics to meet the building safety and other standards of ambulatory surgical centers that are almost hospital-like.

GWEN IFILL:  What was the practical effect of the law as it stood before the court waited?

MARCIA COYLE:  Well, when the admitting privileges requirement went into effect, roughly 20 of the 40 existing Texas abortion clinics closed.  The clinics estimated that when the ambulatory surgical center requirement would go into effect, which it hadn’t, that the 20 remaining clinics would go down to seven or eight.

GWEN IFILL:  Was this something that — we have seen this happen with other cases that have made it to court, where there was actually a group that was looking for a challenge?

MARCIA COYLE:  No, I mean, this was actually a reaction to what Texas had enacted.

Texas claimed that these regulations were designed to protect the health of women.  The clinics claimed that the regulations were designed to stop abortions.  So the clinics challenged them.  They lost in the lower federal appellate court, but won in the trial court, but because they lost in the lower federal appellate court, they had to go to the Supreme Court.

And in the Supreme Court, they claimed that these regulations were unconstitutional under the court’s 1992 test that asks whether the regulations or restrictions impose an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion.

So, you know, what is an undue burden?  This is why this case attracted so much attention and concern.  What was the court going to say?  How was it going to apply that test?  Well, the court in ’92 did say that unnecessary regulations that have the purpose or effect of imposing a substantial obstacle in the path of the woman constituted an undue, unconstitutional burden.

And that’s what five justices found today the way the two restrictions were implemented.  That’s the effect of those.

"The impact of the Supreme Court’s Texas abortion clinic ruling" PBS NewsHour 6/27/2016


SUMMARY:  Abortion rights groups say the Supreme Court’s ruling against Texas’ stringent restrictions on abortion doctors and clinics was a major blow against “sham” laws trying to take away a woman’s right to choose.  Gwen Ifill gets reaction from Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Steven Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom, advocates on both sides of the court’s decision.

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