Supreme Court Overturns Texas Abortion Restrictions

In a milestone victory for pro-choice advocates, the Supreme Court on Monday voted 5-3 to limit the power of Texas and other states to restrict or effectively shut down clinics that offer the procedure.

NPR reports that, “The Supreme Court has overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was predicted to close many clinics and further reduce availability of abortion in Texas; the court has ruled the law violated the Constitution.

With a 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the court reversed a decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, while Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal justices in the majority.

‘We conclude that neither of these provisions [on admitting privileges and surgical center requirements] offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” said Justice Stephen Breyer for the majority. “Each places substantial obstacles in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.’

Opponents of the law said the restrictions would block three-quarters of the state’s clinics from providing abortion services, meaning 900,000 women of child-bearing age would need to drive more than 300 miles round-trip to reach a clinic that provides abortions.

The Supreme Court ruled that both provisions constituted an undue burden.”