The Corner

Law & the Courts

The June Medical Decision Was Not a Win for Women’s Health Care

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in June Medical Services v. Russo, abortion-rights groups are hailing the decision as a victory for women’s health care. Anyone familiar with the specifics of the Louisiana law — and not financially invested in propping up our regime of entirely unfettered legal abortion — knows this claim is obviously untrue.

It’s no surprise, however, to see groups such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Center for Reproductive Rights repeating this falsehood, because this is the narrative that prevailed all throughout the debate over the law and the only narrative that could justify opposing such a commonsense, pro-woman policy.

Let’s remember what was at stake in this case. On a bipartisan basis, Louisiana enacted a policy requiring abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, so that women who need emergency follow-up care could obtain it more easily. A similar policy already applies to every other type of ambulatory surgical center in Louisiana; the law aimed to close the loophole that had permitted abortionists to avoid regulation despite being providers of outpatient surgery.

The law did not in any way infringe on a woman’s right to abortion as courts have outlined it. It didn’t infringe on women’s ability to decide whether or when to get an abortion. It didn’t place a limitation of any kind on abortion procedures in Louisiana. It merely required abortionists, like all other surgical providers in the state, to maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital for the sake of the health and safety of women seeking an abortion.

This is what Planned Parenthood is asking us to believe was a “terrible and dangerous abortion restriction,” what NARAL has cast as a “clinic shutdown law,” what the Center for Reproductive Rights insists was an attack from those “hell-bent on banning abortion.”

These groups fundraise endlessly off of the proposition that “women’s rights” are in danger, promising that they alone exist to protect “women’s health care.” Why, then, are they the loudest voices cheering the downfall of a policy crafted specifically to protect the health of women seeking abortions? As they purport to represent women’s interests, these activist groups instead are celebrating a case brought to court not by women, but by abortionists, who have a direct financial stake in continuing to perform abortions, no matter the health and safety risks to the women involved.

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