By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
July 3, 2020
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that would have helped ensure the safety of women by requiring their abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The 5-4 ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, and joined by justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, was a huge setback for state legislatures looking to protect women and babies. Based primarily on an earlier ruling in the Texas case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the opinion signals that nearly any limitation placed on abortion clinics could be considered an “undue burden” and therefore judged unconstitutional.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who had supported the Texas law at issue in Hellerstedt, reversed course and voted to strike down the very similar law in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. He wrote his own concurring opinion citing the need to follow legal precedent, even though he had not agreed with it.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, joined pro-life leaders across the nation to decry the ruling.
“We are at that point in our nation’s history when if the legislative branch is about to rule on any matter of controversy, perhaps they should check with the Supreme Court first. Of course, I’m being factitious. But this is in principle the matter before us. The High Court uses politics and not the Constitution to police the boundaries of the legislative branch, showing it’s actually the court’s power which needs to be reined in,” Creech said. “Some will tell us that our courts are supposed to work this way to save us from an imperfect majoritarian process. But which is worse, a majoritarian process of an elected branch of government or a majoritarian process of an unelected branch? There was nothing unconstitutional about Louisiana’s abortion law. There is something desperately wrong, however, with the highest court in the land operating outside of its own parameters. How long, O Lord?”
NC Family President John Rustin similarly lamented the court’s decision.
“Once again, a majority of our nation’s highest court has sided with the abortion industry over the lives and wellbeing of women and babies,” he said. “Just like in Whole Woman’s Health, five Justices in this case have contorted the law to give the ‘right to an abortion’ preeminence over common sense and a reasonable standard of care for women undergoing an invasive surgical procedure. Essentially, because the law would likely reduce the number of babies killed through abortion in Louisiana, the Court determined it was unconstitutional. That’s sick and shameful—may God have mercy on our nation!”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch wrote dissenting opinions in the case, mincing no words in pointing out the errors in the ruling, not the least of which was the fact that there is no statute granting abortion providers the authority to sue on behalf of women.
“The plurality and the Chief Justice ultimately cast aside this jurisdictional barrier to conclude that Louisiana’s law is unconstitutional under our precedents,” Thomas wrote, further pointing out that the Constitution does not include the so-called “right to abortion.”
“Those decisions created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text,” he added. “Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled. Because we have neither jurisdiction nor constitutional authority to declare Louisiana’s duly enacted law unconstitutional, I respectfully dissent.”
In his dissent, Alito pointed out that the ruling totally ignores the fact that women’s health would, in fact, be better protected if their doctors had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as is required for physicians at other same-day surgical facilities.
“Contrary to the plurality’s assertion,” he argued, “there is ample evidence in the record showing that requiring admitting privileges has health and safety benefits.”
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, had described Louisiana’s law as “placing the most minimal restrictions possible on an abortion industry that insists on laissez-faire for itself and its profits.”
“We will continue to seek an America where vulnerable persons, including unborn children and their mothers, are seen as precious, not disposable,” he said.