Pray! High Court to Hear Biggest Abortion Case in 25 Years
News Staff : Mar 2, 2016
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court could tie 4-4—A conservative or liberal justice would have to break ranks to avoid a tie.
(Washington, DC)—[CBN News] This week the Supreme Court will hear its biggest abortion case in nearly 25 years. On Wednesday, March 2, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt will go before the Court. (Photo via RawStory)
The case involves a Texas law, House Bill 2, that implements safety standards for abortion clinics that match up with the regulations of other surgical clinics.
The standards include requirements to uphold quality of care, cleanliness and safety, proper staffing and safe laboratory services. For example, the law requires hallways to be wide enough for gurneys to transport women into an ambulance.
The law also requires abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
Those who oppose the law say it's an "undue burden" on women and a way to restrict access to abortions.
They believe the extra expense to implement the safety standards will cause abortion clinics to close.
In fact, opponents say the Texas legislature's goal in passing the law was to shut the doors of abortion clinics and "single out abortion for heightened medical regulation."
Texas says its law is a way to prevent what happened at the clinic of late-term abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia.
A jury convicted Gosnell of three counts of murder for killing three infants born alive by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.
He also was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 41-year-old immigrant who died from a drug overdose during a botched abortion. (Photo via The Blaze)
In addition to the murder convictions, Gosnell was found guilty on 21 felony counts of performing illegal abortions and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law.
Investigators described his clinic as a "house of horrors," with bloodstained walls, unsterilized medical equipment and fetal remains stored in the employee refrigerator.
In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court will consider if the regulations outlined in the Texas law pass the "undue burden" standard expressed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).
The "undue burden" test bans states from putting into effect abortion regulations before viability—regulations that have the "purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion."
The Court determined viability to be 23-24 weeks gestation because of medical advances.
Texas says there is enough evidence that the regulations under its law are vital to promote the health and safety of women.
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court could tie 4-4, which would uphold the appeals court decision in favor of the Texas law.
A conservative or liberal justice would have to break ranks to avoid a tie.
"Abortionists should not be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden.
"The 5th Circuit was on firm legal ground in its decision, and we have asked the Supreme Court to affirm it. The law's requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women," Aden said.