Bench Memos

SCOTUS Voids Texas Abortion Clinic Regulations

This morning, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to invalidate H.B. 2, a Texas law regulating abortion clinics. According to Justice Breyer (who wrote the majority opinion for himself, the other liberal justices, and swing justice Anthony Kennedy), requiring clinics to meet the regulatory requirements for ambulatory surgical centers and requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles imposes an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. As I discuss briefly over at the VC, the upshot of this decision is that it will be increasingly difficult for states to regulate abortions prior to fetal viability. 

Justice Alito wrote a dissent, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas.  Justice Thomas also wrote separately, echoing Justice Scalia’s complaint that the Court applies different standards in abortion cases.

[Note: Ed Whelan is on vacation at the moment. He may have more to say about this decision when he returns.]

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.

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