By the AFP Staff
In a landmark case, the Supreme Court, led by the new conservative justices appointed by President Donald Trump, will be deciding whether states have the right to regulate abortion providers or if it should be done by the federal government. The decision could come down to Justices Neil Gorsuch and Bret Kavanaugh, as Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sided with the liberal side of the Court in the past, is considered a swing vote.
The case in question, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, looks at whether doctors performing abortions in Louisiana must have hospital admitting privileges, a requirement that, according to press reports, would leave only one doctor able to legally perform abortions in the state. Supporters of the law contend that this requirement protects women in the case that something should go wrong during an abortion.
The Louisiana regulation is almost identical to one in Texas that the Supreme Court overturned in 2016. In that case, the justices’ ruling was considered a major win for abortion advocates.
The main issue at hand during Court proceedings on March 4 was whether that precedent applies here, or whether making a different decision in Louisiana would overturn the Court’s prior decisions.
The issue is critical, as most anti-abortion groups and legislators have given up trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions across the United States. Instead, anti-abortion groups have worked with legislators to exploit language in the 1973 decision that found a pregnant woman’s right to abort her baby was not absolute. Instead, the ruling determined “that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.”
Since that time, at least eight states have passed laws that restrict abortions, though these change regularly as well-funded pro-abortion groups constantly tie them up in court.
The case is considered to be so important that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) went so far as to threaten, mafia-style, Supreme Court justices if they rule against liberals.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said during a pro-abortion rights rally on March 4. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
The justices are expected to meet one more time in the coming days to discuss the matter. A decision is expected by the summer.