The Supreme Court Is About to Make Seismic Rulings on Reproductive Rights

by on June 11, 2020 · 0 comments

in Women's Rights

By Marjorie Cohn / Truthout / June 1, 2020

The rights of women to terminate their pregnancies and to receive free contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are on the chopping block. Those challenges to reproductive freedom are consistent with Trump’s agenda of pandering to the religious right while erasing Barack Obama’s achievements. The Supreme Court will rule on these cases during the month of June.

Burdening the Right to Abortion

Although the Court does not yet have a case that contests the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade, it has the opportunity to chip away at the right to abortion as opponents continue to erect obstacles to reproductive health care. Their strategy is to bring about death of abortion by a thousand cuts.

Four years ago, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the high court struck down a Texas law that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the location of the abortion. The Court held that the law did not provide “medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes” and erected “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitut[ing] an undue burden on abortion access.”

In June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, the high court is now facing the same issue it resolved in Whole Woman’s Health. Louisiana has a law identical to the overruled Texas law. If upheld, the Louisiana law would leave only one doctor in one Louisiana clinic to perform abortions. The lower court found that closing all other clinics in the state would impose a heavy burden on low-income women, requiring them to travel long distances to obtain abortions.

What changed in the four years between Whole Woman’s Health and June Medical Services?

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Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

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