U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Clinic Safety Regulations

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana state law that required abortionists in the state to maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to perform abortions. The Louisiana law, which passed with bipartisan support and was authored by a pro-life Democrat, Katrina Jackson, sought to hold abortion clinics to the same safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers. In a 5-4 ruling, the court found that the law poses a "substantial obstacle" to women seeking an abortion and creates an "undue burden" on a woman's abortion rights. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the opinion for the majority, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a concurring opinion, stating that Louisiana's law was similar to a Texas law struck down by the court in 2016, and that it too must be struck down based on the doctrine of stare decisis, a legal doctrine requiring courts to recognize and uphold prior legal rulings.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee for Pro-Life Activities expressed his dismay at the ruling, stating, "The Court's failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women's health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent." Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) Executive Director Tyler McClay also expressed disappointment with the ruling, stating that the decision "could open the door to additional clinics opening in Missouri". McClay also pledged that the MCC "will continue to advocate for reasonable abortion regulations and for alternatives to abortion programs, and encourage Catholics and people of good will to walk with and accompany women facing an unplanned pregnancy."

July 7, 2020 - 6:20am
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