As the Supreme Court of the United States enters its fall term, it is expected to consider multiple cases that relate to abortion policy. The Court’s decision on whether to hear those cases will provide clues as to how (or if) its approach to abortion issues will change following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
One case to be considered by the Court comes out of the State of Louisiana. In 2014, Louisiana passed a law mandating that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of the place where he or she performs abortions. According to CNN, the Court invalidated a similar Texas law in 2016. After the Louisiana law was upheld by an appellate-level court, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Court’s four liberal members in blocking the implementation of the law while the appeal proceeded. According to CNN, the state is arguing that the law promotes the competent practice of medicine, while abortion advocates assert that it unduly burdens access to abortion.
Another case for the Court’s consideration comes from the State of Indiana. In 2016, Indiana passed a law requiring that an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion procedure and that a pregnant woman be offered an opportunity to view the image and listen to the fetal heartbeat at least 18 hours before undergoing an abortion. Abortion advocates contend that this law adversely affects women who may, as a result of its provisions, be required to travel long distances on multiple days in order to obtain an abortion. A lower court found the law unconstitutional.
Also, a case filed by sidewalk counselors from Chicago will be considered, as will a First Amedment-based challenge to a Kentucky law requiring abortionists to describe the pre-abortion ultrasound while performing it will also be considered.