In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled last week that a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges is unconstitutional.
The Louisiana law in question would have closed all of the abortion clinics in the state except for one, because none of the other abortion providers have sought admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Representative Katrina Jackson, a Democrat from Monroe, introduced the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. After it passed the legislature, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor signed it into law in 2014. Supporters believed the law would bring abortion regulations in line with the medical safety standards required for other outpatient procedures.
Louisiana OBGYN, Damon Cudihy expressed frustration in a piece he wrote for the Daily Signal , clarifying that every other doctor working at an outpatient surgical center needs hospital-admitting privileges. It is only common sense that this would be part of an acceptable standard of care for abortion. Cudihy explained it like this: “…this kind of routine abandonment is not tolerated in any other medical specialty. Why only within the specialty purportedly dedicated to women’s health?”
Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote in the case formally known as June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Roberts justified his ruling by stating that the court had to follow precedence set by a similar ruling over a Texas law a few years ago. A ruling in which Roberts at the time disagreed with the majority and argued the law was constitutional.
But Justice Clarence Thomas vehemently disagreed. In his dissent he explained the following: “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”
Thomas’ dissent reveals the truth about how far the Supreme Court has come in not only defending abortion rights but in interfering with a state’s ability to protect its women from substandard medical care.
“It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women,” U.S. Senator John Kennedy expressed in a statement on Monday. “We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.”
Justice Stephen Breyer, siding with the majority and writing their opinion, stated that the law put an, “undue burden on the constitutional right to the procedure.”
It’s clear that defending abortion rights has become more important to the court than defending the rights of the unborn or protecting women’s health. While we continue to lobby and pray for legal change, the grassroots work of Pro Abundant Life women and men serving in local churches and pregnancy centers will keep saving lives.
And that’s something that the Court’s ruling can’t change.