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Supreme Court to Hear Louisiana Abortion Case with Potential to Reverse 2016 Precedent

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it would review a challenge to a 2014 Louisiana law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, which usually refuse to grant such privileges to avoid controversy.

Abortion clinics say the law unduly burdens women’s access to abortion, and would close most of the state’s abortion clinics and leave the state with only one doctor eligible to perform the procedure.

In a statement to National Review, Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life, applauded the decision.

“Abortion activists are more than willing to lower the bar on women’s health in order to expand abortion, but stricter clinic regulations are in the best interest of women. Just recently we were reminded of the need for more oversight when it comes to abortion, not less, with the appalling case of the abortionist Ulrich Klopfer who collected thousands of aborted babies’ bodies in his home,” she said.

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, is closely linked to another case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which centered around a Texas law that inspired the Louisiana law and was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016. In that decision, now-retired justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s four liberals to form a majority. Since then, President Trump has added two new justices to the Court to form a conservative majority, and pro-life supporters are hopeful the precedent can be overturned and Roe v. Wade can be challenged.

Last year, an appeals court in New Orleans upheld the Louisiana law, asserting that doctors could obtain admitting privileges if they persisted. In February, the Supreme Court issued an order temporarily suspending the law in a 5–4 vote in a signal that it was considering hearing the case on appeal. Chief Justice John G. Roberts cast his vote with four liberal justices, while the four conservatives dissented.

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