Texas Abortion Law Remains in Place


On Tuesday, the state of Texas was allowed by the Supreme Court to maintain abortion restrictions that have forced over one-third of Texas’ medical facilities to discontinue their abortion services. In a five to four vote, the judges chose to uphold a law that requires abortion providers to possess admitting permissions at an area hospital.

The conservative judges of the court, which constitute a majority, denied Planned Parenthood’s and other abortion clinics’ request to reverse the ruling of a federal appeals court that enabled the law to be enacted. The four liberal judges disagreed with the refusal.

So far, the issue is set to be taken to New Orleans’ 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. It is expected that the court will hear debates on the law come January. For now, the law will stay in effect.

Judge Stephen Breyer, who wrote for the liberal judges, stated he believes the argument will be taken back to the Supreme Court after the court of appeals gives its final judgement. Texas’ state legislature first gave its approval for the law regarding admitting permissions in July.

Immediately before the law was to take effect in late October, it was blocked by a trial judge. The reason given was that the law was likely unconstitutional since it posed a considerable hurdle to women seeking abortions.

However, an appellate panel of three judges were quick to overrule the trial judge. According to the appeals court, the law was consistent with Supreme Court rulings which have enabled restrictions on abortion services insofar as they don’t present an undue hardship on a woman’s ability to have the procedure. Judge Priscilla Owen, who wrote for the appeals court, stated that the law wouldn’t ban abortion, merely make women travel further for it.

Judge Antonin Scalia, supporting the order, claimed the clinics wouldn’t be able to circumvent the monumental legal hardship against reversing the appeals court’s decision. Judges are not allowed to do so unless the court was obviously in the wrong.

Judge Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts neither wrote not sided with any opinion on Tuesday. However, because five votes are needed to overturn an appellate ruling, it’s obvious that they sided with the other conservative judges.


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