Law & the Courts

Schumer Claims Conservative Supreme Court Justices Will ‘Pay the Price’ If They Rule against Abortion Advocates

(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday warned Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that they will “pay the price” if they take a position he disagrees with in deciding a case that addresses the credentials required for doctors who perform abortions.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer told a cheering crowd of abortion-rights advocates in front of the Supreme Court.

“You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” the New York Democrat added.

A spokesman for Schumer said the minority leader’s comments were a “reference to the political price” Republicans will pay for putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the court, as well as a warning that the justices will inspire a “major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up June Medical Services v. Russo, which considers the constitutionality of a 2014 Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, a credential many abortionists do not have. According to critics of the law, it threatens to shut down all but one abortion clinic in Louisiana, which sees roughly 10,000 abortions every year.

The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act was introduced by Democratic state senator Katrina Jackson, who told National Review she considers her bill “a health-standard law” that is “very common sense.”

“Basically, Louisiana, unknowingly to us, had a lower standard of care for women who elected to have abortions in some places,” Jackson said. “And so what we did was make sure that that standard of health care that we established in Louisiana for years also applied to abortion.”

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the law in September. The Supreme Court will consider whether to allow the lower court’s ruling to stand or whether the law conflicts with Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the 2016 Supreme Court precedent ruling that Texas cannot restrict abortion in a way that creates an undue burden for women seeking abortions.

Pro-life advocates hailed the law as well as the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case, the first the court has agreed to consider that deals with abortion rights since Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were confirmed as justices.

“Louisiana’s abortion businesses have a long and well-documented history of serious health and safety violations that have systematically placed women and girls at risk,” said Marilyn Musgrave, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List’s vice president of government affairs.

“The state has an obligation to regulate these businesses just as they regulate all other ambulatory surgical centers,” Musgrave added. “It is disingenuous for anyone to claim they care about women and yet actively work to lower the bar on women’s health and safety.”

“Women deserve this very basic care and respect,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life. “Abortion shouldn’t be given a pass on health regulations and oversight.”

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