The Supreme Court last week reaffirmed a women’s right to an abortion.
In a 5-3 decision, the court on June 27 struck down a Texas abortion law that imposed restrictive regulation of abortion clinics without any medical benefit.
The majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer argued that the Texas law had imposed regulations that are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman’s right to an abortion.
Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Breyer.
Ginsburg’s opinion noted that laws like Texas’ “that do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion, cannot survive judicial inspection” under the court’s earlier abortion-rights decisions. She pointed specifically to Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Thomas wrote that the decision “exemplifies the court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’” Thomas was quoting an earlier abortion dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
Thomas and the other dissenting justices are wrong.
The Supreme Court was right to rule against Texas’ restrictions on abortion. The law imposed an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. It was a veiled attempt by abortion opponents to make it harder for women to get an abortion.
Texas had argued that its 2013 law and subsequent regulations were needed to protect women’s health.
Anti-abortion advocates invoked the case of Kermit Gosnell, a convicted West Philadelphia abortion doctor, to justify the Texas law. Gosnell was convicted in 2013 in the deaths of three infants born alive during abortion procedures at his clinic.
But the restrictive regulations were actually making abortions more unsafe by reducing access and decreasing the number of abortion clinics available to women.
When the restrictive regulations were signed into the law in 2013 by then Gov. Rick Perry there were about 40 clinics throughout the state. That number dropped to under 20 and would have been cut in half again if the law had taken full effect, the clinics said.
Abortion providers said the rules would have cut the number of abortion clinics in Texas by three-fourths if they had been allowed to take full effect.
Texas restrictive abortion law left many in the state without reasonable access to quality abortion clinics, which the Supreme Court rightly ruled is unconstitutional.