Supreme Court Will Hear Abortion Rights Case, The First In Years

According to the Los Angeles Times, the highest court in the land will be wading into the reproductive rights battle very soon, and it figures to be a big decision — the Supreme Court will hear a case on abortion rights in Texas, where so-called TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) have stifled access across the state. A decision in the case is expected to come by June 2016, and when it does, it’ll definitely make waves, as it's already being touted as potentially the biggest case on reproductive rights to come out of the Supreme Court in decades, and it’ll be right in the thick of the 2016 general election.

The case is being brought by reproductive rights proponents, challenging a 2013 Texas law which imposed often-prohibitive new regulations on the state’s abortion providers. Namely, as NBC News details, Texas abortion clinics are now required to meet the standards of outpatient, ambulatory surgical centers — a much steeper standard that what was in place before, by virtue of how safe abortions are — and to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital.

Both have posed enormous challenges for clinics across Texas, forcing the total number of abortion providers in the second-largest state in America from an already meager 41 down to a minuscule 18.

Pro-choice proponents tend to get frightened whenever the Supreme Court hears a case on abortion, and there’s a very good reason for that. Any big, potentially sweeping Supreme Court decision on reproductive rights carries the possibility of sweeping, enduring, and broad new precedent in the other direction, undermining or even outright torpedoing the constitutional protections first enshrined in Roe v. Wade back in 1973.

This is one part of why the slow creep of new restrictions on abortion has been so effective over the last several years — anti-abortion activists and politicians know that pro-choicers are wary of putting cases before the court, and risking even bigger, more harrowing precedents being set.

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Those concerns have not deterred the pro-choice side this time, however. The appeal was taken to the Supreme Court by the Center for Reproductive Justice, and its president, Nancy Northup, hailed the decision to hear the case, as detailed by the Los Angeles Times.

Today the Supreme Court took an important step toward restoring the constitutional rights of millions of women, which Texas politicians have spent years dismantling through deceptive laws and regulatory red tape. We are confident the court will recognize that these laws are a sham and stop these political attacks on women’s rights, dignity, and access to safe, legal essential health care.