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Texas’ Modest Abortion Restraints Too Much for Supreme Court

Once again, conservatives are handed an important reminder about just how much is at stake in this upcoming president election.


While pro-lifers have been making various inroads at the state level, the Obama administration and its enablers at the Supreme Court remain all-too-capable of undoing that hard work with a very modest amount of energy. To wit: today’s decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which effectively overturned Texas’ HB2, signed into law in 2013 by Gov. Rick Perry.

The HB2 law requires that doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. The law further requires that Texas abortion clinics meet the same standards as those demanded of walk-in surgical facilities. According to proponents, HB2 was designed to help protect the health of women seeking abortions, but critics have always believed the real purpose of the law was to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in a way that was in clear agreement with the aforementioned critics of HB2. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said, in part, that “the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Justice Clarence Thomas authored the dissenting opinion, writing, “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors. That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’

Continuing, Thomas wrote, “…today’s decision creates an abortion exception to ordinary rules of res judicata, ignores compelling evidence that Texas’ law imposes no unconstitutional burden, and disregards basic principles of the severability doctrine. I write separately to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights— especially the putative right to abortion.”

As soon as HB2 became law, it was clear there would be significant challenges mounted to it on behalf of the abortion industry, challenges contending that the net effect of the legislation would be to force the closure of numerous abortion clinics and thus place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion.

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large