US Supreme Court to rule on far-reaching abortion case

The United States Supreme Court is set to rule on a case with implications for America’s abortion regime.

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, specifically deals with a forthcoming law in the state of Texas which will require abortion clinics to have hospital-grade facilities, and, in a ection already in force, requires doctors offering terminations to have the ability to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

The case has been brought to the Supreme Court by pro-abortion advocates who assert that the law is designed to outlaw abortion in Texas by stealth, given that its provisions drastically reduce the number of abortion facilities, based on the proximity element. Pro-life supporters, meanwhile, contend that the law is necessary to protect women’s health as well as the life of the unborn.

When the case was heard on March 2, demonstrators for both side thronged the steps of the Supreme Court.

During those demonstrations, the leading Republican and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan addressed pro-life supporters telling them, “we are here to stand up for women and children and for the rule of law. We are the pro-life generation and we are here to stand for life.” He went on to laud the Texas law as “common sense”.

Commenting on the case, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie of The Catholic Association criticised those seeking to bring down the Texas law on the basis of unreasonable costs in meeting its safety requirements for clinics.

“They argue, instead, for the right to put women in danger, by delivering substandard care during surgical procedures,” she said.  “Legal abortion was supposed to get rid of the back-alley abortionist. Now, in an ironic reversal driven by greed, the back-alley abortionists work comfortably on main street, and fight shamelessly for the right to deliver less-than-adequate care to the women who trust them.”

Matters in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt are complicated by the fact that the case was heard by an eight-judge court following the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, posing the threat of a hung panel in the absence of the normal ninth ‘deciding vote’. The court is this divided evenly between liberal and conservative judges. If the panel is tied, this result will effectively uphold the Texas law as it currently stands.

A final judgement from the court is expected in June.
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