- The eight Supreme Court justices appeared divided Wednesday during oral arguments in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, The New York Times reports.
- The controversial case from Texas is being described as the first major abortion case in nearly 10 years, with the potential to reverberate around several states and impact millions of women.
- The case is also notable for being the first major case SCOTUS will face since the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, which could impact the outcome in several ways.
The court's liberal justices asked highly critical questions about the law, which would require physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and the clinics to qualify as ambulatory surgical centers--requirements that are said to be closing clinics and making abortions highly unattainable.
The questions included how the law would impact women in areas without any remaining clinics and how it is medically necessary.
"If the questioning is any indication, there are three solid votes to uphold the Texas law, four to strike it down and Justice Kennedy is in the middle," said CNN legal contributor Stephen I. Vladeck.
A variety of outcomes are possible aside from a definitive vote, CNN notes. The court could remand the case back to the lower courts to fill gaps in the evidence, or the vote could tie, in which case the law would take effect but would not set a national precedent, and the court could request to revisit the case in the next term.