ColumnThe Supreme Court did something great on Monday. By voting 5-3, SCOTUS’s abortion ruling put an end to states passing “clinic shutdown” laws. While these laws don’t make abortion illegal, they severely limit access to abortion facilities.
Perhaps you remember when Texas first passed its abortion access law. The law was supposedly written to protect the health of women who seek abortions. The law stated that abortion clinics would have to attain a surgical center requirement for doctors to be able to perform abortions. Most people agree that this law, and laws like it, are total bullshit. And thank goodness, the majority of Supreme Court judges agrees.
“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an undue burden on their constitutional right to do so.”
This abortion ruling is also quite remarkable because it shows that, in the future, even if the next Justice nominated predominately votes in a republican manner (aka he or she typically sides with pro-lifers) votes on abortion could still lean toward a pro-choice stance. And in addition to tearing down this Texas law, the ruling will most likely affect other states that have created similar laws.
“By clarifying exactly what the ‘undue burden’ test requires, I suspect the majority was hoping to dissuade states like Oklahoma from continuing to pass laws that so directly challenge the central premise of Roe v. Wade—that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion in a meaningful percentage of cases,” Steve Vladeck, CNN contributor and professor of law at American University Washington College of Law, says.
“In the process, the Court today has called into question everything from categorical bans on abortions to so-called ‘fetal heartbeat’ restrictions, and perhaps plenty of other laws in between.”
Do you know how great it is to hear some good news concerning politics? These past few weeks have been filled with such disheartening news: the SCOTUS decision concerning immigration; America’s inability to pass common-sense gun control laws; and most recently, the Brexit vote that proves nationalism is on the rise, or that people are too lazy to vote, or do their homework before voting.
While having an abortion isn’t an intense procedure, the hoops women jump through to have an abortion are often burdensome. And no woman should have to drive more than 20 miles to get this type of procedure. Easy-to-access, safe abortions should be the norm in America.
So, thanks for the refreshing ruling, SCOTUS. Now Americans can celebrate the Fourth of July with a little pride.
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