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Supreme Court To Hear First Major Abortion Case Since Kavanaugh’s Confirmation. Here’s What To Know

Mary Margaret Olohan on March 2, 2020

  • The Supreme Court will take up June Medical Services v. Russo Wednesday: the first abortion case in four years.
  • Abortion proponents argue that abortion providers should not have to have admitting privileges in hospital as Louisiana law states. Pro-life advocates say the law only makes women safer from improperly performed procedures.
  • “Abortion is extremely safe,” the Center for Reproductive Rights maintains.

The United States Supreme Court will hear an abortion case for the first time since Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated as a Louisiana abortion business challenges a Louisiana law that defendants say protects women.

The court will take up June Medical Services v. Russo Wednesday, a case in which an abortion provider challenges a 2014 Louisiana state law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. These admitting privileges would allow a woman to go to the hospital if she needs urgent care.

Pro-abortion opponents say that the law, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act or Act 620, would hinder and potentially eliminate abortion access in Louisiana. About 10,000 abortions are performed in the state in 2017, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights, who argue on behalf of June Medical Services, say there are only two abortion providers who have admitting privileges in the state.

There is no medical justification for requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges, as abortion is extremely safe,” the Center for Reproductive Rights said in an October 2019 press release. CRR originally filed June Medical Services v. Gee in August 2014.

“Hospitals frequently deny admitting privileges to doctors who provide abortions for reasons ranging from ideological opposition to the fact that too few of their patients will ever need hospital care,” the CRR press release adds.

The organization did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

One million women of reproductive age currently reside in Louisiana. Countless more from surrounding states must travel to Louisiana to obtain abortion care. This week, we head to the Supreme Court to fight for their right to abortion. #MyRightMyDecision https://t.co/zRElPlxOvv

— Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) March 2, 2020

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry maintains that the law does not force clinic closures, citing the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals finding that “there is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act.” The Louisiana AG also argued in a February press release that Louisiana abortion providers will be able to obtain admitting privileges if they are providing competent care.

“Louisiana abortionists have gone to extraordinary lengths to block Act 620 – a bipartisan law that promotes the well-being of women and protects minor girls who may find themselves in the hands of incompetent providers and under unsafe conditions,” the AG’s office said in a statement.

Pro-life advocates argue that the Louisiana law protects women from abortion doctors who fail to properly and safely perform abortions. They also argue that abortion providers have no place to be suing the state on behalf of the very women whom the Louisiana law seeks to protect.

Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster notes that particularly in Louisiana, “abortion facilities and abortion practitioners have a long history of professional disciplinary actions and substandard medical care” as well as “a record of ‘generally unsafe conditions and protection of rapists.’”

“It is impossible for abortion facilities and practitioners to share or represent the interests of these patients and assert third-party standing when they strive to eliminate the very regulations designed to protect their patients’ health and safety,” she wrote in a February SCOTUS blog post.

“A supermajority of Americans support Louisiana-style patient protection laws that ensure abortion practitioners meet the same medical standards as any normal physician,” Foster told the DCNF. “All Americans deserve patient protection laws like Louisiana’s, and every woman deserves the protection that clear health and safety standards provide.”

The Americans United for Life president added that abortionists in Louisiana are “actually fighting to abandon their patients.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to take up this case gives them the opportunity to address the inherent conflict between abortion businesses and women,” Foster explained.

The case will mark the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed an abortion case since Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court justice’s confirmation was marked by anxiety from the pro-abortion movement that Kavanaugh would rule favorably for pro-life policies.

He was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, whose lawyer Debra Katz said Ford’s accusations were motivated by putting “an asterisk next to” Kavanaugh’s name before “he takes a scalpel” to Roe v. Wade.

“In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court,” Katz says in a video exclusively obtained by the DCNF in September 2019.

“He will always have an asterisk next to his name,” Katz continues. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

Foster notes that this will be both Kavanaugh’s and other new Supreme Court members’ first chance to “meaningfully rule on abortion.”

“We are confident that their decision will be consistent with the U.S. Constitution and will affirm life,” she told the DCNF.

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