Last week, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined his four liberal colleagues on the Supreme Court in overturning a 2013 Texas abortion law.
In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, “[the] Supreme Court vacated a Texas law [H.B. 2] that placed two restrictions on abortion clinics in the state.” H.B. 2 would have required all abortion clinics to meet health and safety standards applicable to other outpatient surgical centers. In addition, it would have required “that any doctor performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital not more than 30 miles away from the abortion facility.” Abortion advocates attacked the law, claiming that its requirements were so costly and onerous that many abortion clinics would be forced to close due to their inability to comply. While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld H.B. 2, a divided Supreme Court reversed; the high Court ruled, 5-3, that H.B. 2 violated the rights of women by creating an “undue burden” upon the (fictitious) constitutional right to abortion.
The Court’s decision in Hellerstedt is a setback for the cause of life, for the health of women, and for Americans who do not believe that unelected judges should impose their policy preferences on the rest of the country and pretend that the Constitution authorizes them to do so. Sadly, it is possible that the Court’s decision in this case could be used to roll back other common-sense state laws that protect women and children.