Scotus La Abortion

April 2, 2021
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America’s high court weighs in on one of the most significant abortion law challenges in recent years.

What To Know

  • U.S. Abortion Laws Vary By State
  • 1973: Supreme Court legalized abortion with limits; a woman’s right to an abortion is *not* absolute. Abortion is legal in first trimester, but states can regulate and even outlaw at certain points in pregnancy, *unless* there is a threat to the health/life of mother.
  • 1992: Supreme Court ruled states can’t impose an “undue burden” on the right of a woman to obtain an abortion.

The 2020 Abortion Case

  • A 2014 Louisiana law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital w/in 30 miles of abortion site. It never took effect b/c of lawsuits.
  • The Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law in 2016, finding it imposed an “undue burden.”
  • Supporters of the law said it was meant to protect women.
  • Opponents of the law said it was meant to limit access to abortion.

Why The Case Matters

  • Although the facts of the case were similar to the 2016 Texas case, this was the first abortion case for the Court with Trump appointees on the bench.
  • The ruling comes just months before Americans passionate about the issue will vote for President (the person who appoints Supreme Court justices).
  • States like Arkansas, Alabama & Indiana were waiting on the ruling before acting on further laws restricting abortion.
“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with the Court's liberal wing, on why he voted to block the law. Notably, he voted *in favor* of upholding the Texas law in 2016, but said he was bound by the legal doctrine of stare decisis – which requires judges to treat like cases alike, absent special circumstances.

We're watching several existing challenges to state abortion laws, like Alabama, but none have yet reached the Supreme Court for the next term starting in the fall.

3 Things Every American Should Know About Abortion Law: WATCH HERE

Stare Decisis: READ HERE

by Jenna Lee,