U.S. SUPREME COURT AGREES TO RECONSIDER ITS PRECEDENT BY TAKING LOUISIANA ABORTION CASE
For Immediate Release: Oct. 4, 2019
This case could decide the future of abortion access in this country.
This is the first abortion case the U.S. Supreme Court has taken since Kavanaugh took the bench.
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review Louisiana’s Act 620, an abortion restriction nearly identical to one of the Texas restrictions struck down by the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt just three years ago.
In Whole Woman’s Health, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that made clear that medically unnecessary abortion restrictions, such as Texas’s requirement of local hospital admitting privileges, imposed an undue burden on women seeking to access health care, and therefore should not be allowed to stand. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which heard the nearly identical Texas law, blatantly disregarded Supreme Court precedent when it upheld Louisiana’s abortion restriction in September 2018. If this law is allowed to take effect, Louisiana could become the seventh state to have only one abortion provider.
By granting review in this case, the Supreme Court is agreeing to reconsider its own 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health — and if the court allows this Louisiana law to stand, it will be breaking with its own precedent and dismantling constitutional protections to abortion access. If the court overturns Roe or renders it meaningless, it could leave 25 million women of reproductive age in America at risk of losing access to abortion.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Access to abortion is hanging by a thread in this country, and this case is what could snap that thread. Three years ago, the Supreme Court decided that laws like this one in Louisiana had no purpose other than to make abortion more difficult to access. There’s only one reason the court would not strike down the Louisiana law and that is because Justice Kennedy, who voted to protect abortion access just three years ago, has been replaced with Justice Kavanaugh. This is what we’ve warned about — the Trump administration and anti-abortion state politicians will not stop until they have gutted our rights and our freedoms. We will never stop fighting, alongside our partners at the Center for Reproductive Rights and the brave providers on the ground in Louisiana, to ensure that every single person is still able to access abortion.”
Statement from Melaney Linton, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast:
“The people of Texas are far too familiar with the tragic consequences of extremist laws that aim to outlaw abortion and put it out of reach from those who need it. After a law with an identical and medically unnecessary requirement passed, abortion access was decimated. Nearly half of the abortion providers in Texas were forced to close. And, today, more than three years after the Supreme Court ruled that the admitting privileges requirement (and the other draconian restrictions) jeopardized women’s health, we face an all-too-familiar threat in Louisiana. Louisianans already face a limited landscape for abortion access and this law would put health care entirely out of reach. We will continue to fight back against extremist laws and ensure that all people, especially those most in need, have access to abortion and the reproductive health care they need.”
The Louisiana law, like the Texas restriction the court struck down, would force abortion providers to obtain local hospital admitting privileges — a medically unnecessary move meant to make abortion more difficult to access. The Supreme Court has already found that admitting privileges did not help “even one woman obtain better treatment” in Texas. And medical experts agree Louisiana is no different. The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and the American Medical Association oppose forcing abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges.
Already, 1 in 3 women live in a state where abortion could be outlawed if Roe is overturned. While abortion restrictions impact everyone who can become pregnant, they hit people of color and those who are struggling to make ends meet the hardest — the result of systemic barriers to health care because of our country’s racist and discriminatory policies. While most wealthy women may be able to find a way around these laws, far too many people — especially those who already face racism, homophobia, and transphobia — will be left with no options at all.
While politicians remain hellbent on stripping reproductive rights from Americans, support for abortion access is at its highest level on record — 77% of Americans say they do not want to see Roe overturned. This year in nearly half the states, champions have pushed for bills that codify abortion rights into state law, repeal harmful policies that create barriers to care, and treat abortion as health care, not a crime. Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont joined nine other states with laws protecting abortion access — creating critical backstops to the Trump administration and the shift in the balance of the Supreme Court.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.