- In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Texas abortion access law.
- The decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt could impact similar laws in other states.
- Meanwhile, various organizations that offer abortion training sessions have seen an increase in doctors' and medical students' attendance.
The Supreme Court Justices in March appeared to be divided in what some have called the first major abortion case in about 10 years while questioning whether the Texas law would be medically necessary as well as how it would impact women in areas that do not have any remaining abortion clinics.
The suit centered on the state law's restrictions to access to abortion-related procedures by requiring abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Center for Reproductive Rights, along with abortion clinics, argued the law would cause 75% of the Texas' abortion clinics to close. In addition, the clinics argued the law was aimed at limiting access to abortions.
The state's stance was that the law, which also requires clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers, was designed to help protect the health of women who undergo the procedures.
Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said any benefits that may come from the law's requirements do not justify the burdens and obstacles they impose on abortion access.
Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented. They wrote in a dissenting opinion the majority bent the rules to make their decision in the case. “The Court's patent refusal to apply well-established law in a neutral way is indefensible and will undermine public confidence in the Court as a fair and neutral arbiter,” Alito wrote.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the decision in a statement saying, “HB 2 was an effort to improve minimum safety standards and ensure capable care for Texas women," adding, "It’s exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives."
Due to the decision, 25 states (in the table below) may see some changes in their abortion restrictions.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, five states require abortion providers to have admitting privileges, while 22 have licensing standards that are similar to those for ambulatory surgical centers.