Monday, June 27, 2016

SCOTUS Throws Out Texas Abortion Law, Reaffirms Right-To-Choose

If this law doesn't put a stake through TRAP laws, what does?
Putting the right to abortion back on the same constitutional footing the Supreme Court laid down nearly a quarter-century ago, a divided Supreme Court on Monday swept away new forms of state restrictions on the way clinics can function.  Together with recent refusals by the Court to allow states to narrow the scope of the abortion right itself, the new ruling in Whole Woman’s Health Clinic v. Hellerstedt thwarted a wave of new laws against women’s choice to end pregnancy.
The Court’s vote was five to three, indicating that the outcome was not affected by the vacancy left by the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia.  Justice Stephen G. Breyer, handed the assignment to write for the majority by the more senior Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, relied heavily upon the Court’s famous 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey that Kennedy had helped to put together. (SCOTUSBlog)
Long story short: the decision does two things - (1) it re-affirms the judiciary's role in determining the constitutionality of laws restricting rights protected under the Constitution and (2) the law in question - Texas's H.B. 2 - was so facially unconstitutional that, although the law contained a "severability" provision, every part of the law was basically overturned in today's decision. In addition, the decision here likely also means that similar laws in Alabama and Mississippi - laws also in front of the Court at present - are likely to go out the window as well based on today's case.

What's interesting about this case, from a political standpoint, is that the forced-birth crowd (for the record, I refuse to call them 'pro-life'; pro-life means, among other things, recognizing the right of a woman to carry a pregnancy to term irrespective of what you or I or anyone else may think or say) had tried over the past few years to whittle away at Roe v. Wade by adding restrictions which, on the surface, don't touch abortion per se' but effectively restrict the exercise of abortion as a protected right under the Constitution, hoping to get such a law before the High Court in the off-chance that the Court might overturn Roe...well, they got their opportunity here and lost, big-time.

No comments:

Post a Comment