In one of many close and controversial rulings over the last week, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with pro-choice groups and women’s rights advocates in blocking a Texas law that would have seen nearly half of all abortion clinics in Texas close due to failing to meet health requirements.
On June 29, the Court by a 5 to 4 vote went against the state of Texas and temporarily placed a hold on state-approved provisions that require abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities similar to hospitals. The provisions, titled the Ambulatory Surgical Center requirement, also state that a doctor performing an abortion must have an employee right at a nearby hospital, CNN reported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit originally upheld the provisions in a previous challenge, but the higher court has now reversed the lower court’s decision. Pro-choice activists have said that the provisions have caused nearly three-fourths of all abortion clinics to shut down throughout the state in just two years. The clinics asked for an emergency appeal from the Supreme Court to stay open, which they were granted, Fox News reported.
The higher Court's order will remain in place until the Justices decide whether or not they will hear an appeal of the lower court’s initial ruling, according to the Associated Press. This decision will most likely not be made until the fall. Many who have studied the Supreme Court over the years believe that the Justices will take the case, making it the most well-known abortion case in nearly three decades.
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The provisions have caused more than 20 clinics to close throughout the Lone Star state. In 2012, Texas had 41 abortion clinics open, now there are 19.
Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, an anti-abortion advocacy group, disagreed with the Court’s decision.
“Women and babies are being denied protections with the Supreme Court blocking pro-life legislation,” she said.
Others are pointing out that by putting the provisions in place, women will be in much safer and cleaner conditions when they go to a clinic. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the provisions “protect women’s health” and that the Supreme Court’s verdict “just put Texas women in harm’s way.”
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However, supporters of the law felt differently. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, a health organization that has promoted pro-choice positions in the past, said the opposite of Paxton.
“Restricting or banning abortion blocks women from getting safe medical care. This dangerous law never should have passed in the first place – which is why we need to elect leaders who will champion women’s health and rights,” Richards said in a statement.
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