The Hill | Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

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Supreme Court (200x200)Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

June 27, 2016

The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a major win to abortion clinics in Texas in a decision that halts the state’s Republican leaders from enforcing one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

The court’s 5-3 decision, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, blocks Texas from enforcing two of the biggest pieces of its landmark 2013 law.

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, marks the court’s first major decision on abortion in about two decades. It’s also one of the most anticipated decisions of 2016, a year in which Justice Antonin Scalia’s death shrunk the bench to only eight justices.

The justices said in the majority opinion that the two parts of the Texas law under challenge create a “substantial obstacle in the path of women” who are seeking abortions and neither provision “offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”

The law required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. It also required abortion clinics to meet the stricter standards of hospital-style “ambulatory surgical centers.”

Breyer was joined on the 40-page majority opinion by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, who was considered the swing vote in the case.

[…]

Both Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas penned dissenting opinions. In his 43-page opinion, Alito argued that the law should have been sent to lower courts “for a remedy tailored to the specific facts shown in this case.”

Though the case concerns only the law in Texas, the outcome is likely to have a ripple effect.

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