As the Supreme Court begins a new term, they will take up a case regarding a very important issue: abortion.
The decision will be whether to uphold or overturn a new Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Opponents see this as an attempt to shut down abortion clinics, while supporters argue that it may be necessary to save the lives of women who are harmed during an abortion.
In the 2016 Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, the Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law for causing an “undue burden” to women who sought out abortions. However, that ruling came at a time when the court only had eight justices following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Furthermore, President Trump’s nominees have shifted the balance of power on the Supreme Court.
Steven Aden, chief legal officer and general counsel for Americans United for Life, commented:
For the first time in at least 25 years the court does not have a majority of justices who are committed to the legacy of a constitutional right to abortion on demand. That’s huge…I think the justices took the case because the majority or plurality of them want to again address abortion regulations and, in my estimation, pare back on the high-water mark for abortion rights that the Hellerstedt case from Texas represents.
Every conservative justice dissented in the 2016 case. While there is not an established record for how the new conservatives on the court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will vote, it is speculated that they will vote similarly to the other conservatives on the court.
The Supreme Court voted in February to temporarily block the new Louisiana law from taking effect. The vote was 5-4, and Gorsuch and Kavanaugh both dissented. While their dissent is encouraging to pro-lifers, it is not enough proof to reveal how they will vote after hearing oral arguments.
SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein views this case as one of the first steps forward to reversing Roe v. Wade. He argued: “It’s coming. But nobody knows whether it’s in one year, five years, or maybe 10.”