June Medical Services Brings Women's Health to SCOTUS Again

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Posted: Mar 04, 2020 10:45 AM
June Medical Services Brings Women's Health to SCOTUS Again

Source: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

A controversial abortion case is in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. The case is related to a Louisiana law which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to local hospitals, in the event of an emergency. June Medical Services is a piggy-back off of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which challenged a similar law in Texas. 

Abortion proponents oppose these laws, claiming that they pose an undue burden on women seeking abortions. The purpose of the laws is not to implement barriers to entry for abortion access, but rather to protect the lives of women seeking abortions and to ensure that medical professionals are available. 

Opposition to these laws undermines the left’s argument that abortion is a routine healthcare procedure; if abortion is, indeed, healthcare, why would these abortion advocates not want those who perform abortions to have medical credentials and hospital privileges?

The high court applied the “substantial burden” test to Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016. In the majority opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the court said that the health precautions implemented by the law did not outweigh the burden on women seeking abortions. Opponents of Louisiana’s law in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo say that the law conflicts with the precedent of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt

Chief Justice Roberts joined Justices Thomas and Alito in dissenting in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, but with precedent at stake here, his vote, along with Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, will be interesting to watch.