U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court will review Texas abortion law

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a Texas abortion law that imposed new requirements on abortion clinics and doctors.

The court granted cert Tuesday, the New York Times, SCOTUSblog, USA Today and the Washington Post report. The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole.

The Texas law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admission privileges at nearby hospitals and requires abortion clinics to comply with standards that apply to ambulatory surgery centers.

At issue in the case is what kind of restrictions imposed by the states are an “undue burden” on the right to abortion, a standard established in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The cert petition is here (PDF).

If implemented, the law would lead to the closure of all but about 10 abortion clinics in Texas, abortion providers say. Originally the state had more than 40 abortion clinics.

According to the Washington Post, the Texas case “will be one of the court’s most consequential rulings on the morally and politically divisive subject, and it will land just months before Americans choose a new president.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s vote in the Texas case is expected to be critical.

The last major abortion ruling by the Supreme Court, in 2007, upheld a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions. Kennedy voted with conservatives in the case, Gonzales v. Carhart.

Kennedy joined the plurality in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision establishing the undue burden standard. The other two justices in the plurality are no longer on the court.

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: “Is SCOTUS ready to reconsider abortion rights?”

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