The New York Times

The Flood of Court Cases That Threaten Abortion

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS SOUGHT JUDGES WHO COULD BE COUNTED ON TO OPPOSE ABORTION. THE VOICES OF THOSE JUDGES COME THROUGH CLEARLY IN CASES NOW MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT.

With all that’s going on in the world of law, I didn’t plan on writing about abortion again so soon. But as the tide of Supreme Court-bound abortion cases turns rapidly into a flood, it’s become a challenge even for people with a deep interest in the future of the abortion right to keep track of what’s happening and of which cases to worry about most. Thus, this column.

Within the next few weeks, a challenge to Louisiana’s abortion law, which I wrote about last month, will arrive at the court as a formal appeal. Louisiana requires that doctors who perform abortions in that deeply anti-abortion state do the impossible by getting admitting privileges in local hospitals. The law is “substantially similar” to the Texas law the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit conceded, in an opinion that implausibly upheld the Louisiana law nonetheless. (The Supreme Court last month, over four dissents, temporarily blocked the law from taking effect in order to give the abortion providers a chance to file their appeal.)

The 5th Circuit is the court that upheld the Texas law. Yes, it’s the very same court the Supreme Court reversed in 2016, concluding that the law imposed an unconstitutional “undue in the Louisiana case, June Medical Services v. Gee, boiled down to: That was Texas and this is Louisiana. Indeed, there is a difference: Louisiana is worse. The federal district judge who invalidated the law found that it would leave one clinic with one doctor operating in a state where nearly 10,000 women seek abortions every year.

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