The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic, dashing the hopes of conservatives who were counting on President Trump's appointments to lead the court to sustain restrictions on abortion rights and, eventually, to overrule Roe v. Wade.
"In an unfortunate ruling today, the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of unborn children by gutting Louisiana's policy that required all abortion procedures be performed by individuals with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital", White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
In a concurrence that may go down in history, the Chief Justice reiterated that he believed Whole Women's Health was wrongly decided, but since it was precedent, it needed to be upheld and adhered to.
We apply the constitutional standards set forth in our earlier abortion-related cases, and in particular in Casey and Whole Woman's Health.
"The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike", Roberts wrote. Monday's decision, which resembles a 2016 case involving a similar Texas law, is a defeat for pro-life activists who hoped Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement would prompt an immediate rupture with the Court's pro-abortion jurisprudence.
"The result in this case is controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a almost identical Texas law", he wrote, although he did not join the opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer on behalf of the liberal justices.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the lower court's decision, and the full court denied the abortion providers' petition to rehear the Louisiana case. "And the plurality upholds the District Court's finding that the Louisiana law would cause a drastic reduction in the number of abortion providers in the State even though this finding was based on an erroneous legal standard and a thoroughly inadequate factual inquiry".
"With its decision today, the Court has destroyed the right of states to provide oversight and regulation of abortion clinics, treating them like every other outpatient surgery center".
"This ruling allows the loophole enjoyed by abortionists to remain open at the expense of the women the abortion industry claims to serve".
Chief Justice John Roberts also filed an opinion concurring for the majority. In 1983 - 10 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision - Abortion Clinic showed what women experienced while seeking an abortion in Pennsylvania and talked to members of the community who protested against it.
There was no evidence that the Texas law's admitting-privileges requirement "would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment", Breyer wrote.
Abortion rights advocates have argued that restrictions such as admitting privileges are meant to limit access to abortion not protect women's health as proponents say.
Justice Breyer wrote that the law imposed great burdens on access to abortion but did nothing to protect women's health, its ostensible goal.
Physicians for reproductive health, a national advocacy organization, said: "This is great news and affirms what we know to be true. medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion care are unlawful and risky". The chief justice and Gorsuch both sided with the liberal justices to rule that gay and transgender workers are protected from employment discrimination by the Civil Rights Act.
Those judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted against the decision announced on Monday, but Roberts' siding with the more liberal element of the supreme court bench meant their actions, alongside established conservative justices To were not enough.
After a district judge's initial injunction past year stayed the executions, an appeals court reversed the order in April. And the idea that a regulated party can invoke the right of a third party for the goal of attacking legislation enacted to protect the third party is stunning.
A 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court in February 2019 blocked the law temporarily as the justices considered the case. The court in June declined to hear a bid by Alabama to revive a Republican-enacted law that would have effectively banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.