In one of the biggest rulings in decades on abortion, CNN is reporting that the Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 3 to throw out a Texas abortion access law, also referred to as a “clinic shutdown” law. The ruling is also significant in that the current 8 member court was able to break the liberal-conservative split. In their arguments the 5 against the law believed that although the restrictions are meant to protect women’s health quote “the reality is that they merely amounted to burdening women who seek abortions,” wrote Justice Breyer. Justice Ginsburg added that these type of restrictions will put women in desperate circumstances and may resort to riskier options like unlicensed practitioners.
The Texas law had two provisions that the court examined, that doctors have to have local admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that clinics have to upgrade their facilities to hospital like standards. Those two provisions alone would allegedly leave only a handful of clinics to support a state with over 5 million women of reproductive age.
Dissenting justices argued that the decision encroaches on the constitution, allowing a gray area between something infringing a constitutional right or not. They also would have preferred the laws be sent back to lower courts to be decided with more evidence present.
The 5-3 decision will echo throughout the presidential election as the filing of the vacant seat continues to look like the job of the next president. As for the issue of abortion, with this new majority ruling the leanings of the next appointed justice may not sway more decisions on the hot button issue.