Supreme Court strikes down abortion restrictions in Texas

Breaking news from the Supreme Court: Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions in Texas reports: 

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled 5-3 in favor of abortion rights, striking down restrictions imposed by Texas on abortion clinics that the court said posed an “undue burden” on a woman’s access to abortion.

“Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority.

Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the Breyer majority opinion

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops issued the following statement:

Bishops’ Pro-Life Spokeswoman Laments High Court Decision Rejecting Abortion Clinic Safety Law
WASHINGTON — On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-3 ruling in the abortion facility medical standards case, Woman’s Whole Health v. Hellerstedt. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the loss.
“The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety,” McQuade said. “The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers – standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise.”
“Abortion claims the lives of unborn children, and too often endangers their mothers, as well,” she added. “This ruling contradicts the consensus among medical groups that such measures protect women’s lives.”
On February 1, the USCCB’s General Counsel had filed an amicus curiae brief calling for the law to be upheld on behalf of USCCB, the Texas Catholic Conference, and several other Christian partners.

The Texas Catholic Conference, the "Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Bishops of Texas," issued this statement: 

Texas Bishops highly concerned with ruling that puts women at grave risk; Texas bill was attempt to safeguard women seeking abortion
AUSTIN — The US Supreme Court has decided, in a 5-3 decision, to strike down Texas HB2, a law that protects women’s safety while seeking an abortion. The Texas Bishops are highly concerned that this ruling puts women at grave risk.

The Texas State Legislature overwhelmingly approved HB2. Its main purpose is to secure surgical center, health and safety standards for women seeking an abortion. Their lives are just as precious as those of their children.

Surgical abortion is an invasive procedure that poses numerous and serious medical complications.  The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring the maximum level of safety for the woman subjected to the procedure and that viable emergency care is available if complications such as hemorrhage, infection, uterine perforation, blood clots, cervical tears, or allergic reactions occur. It is irresponsible for physicians to perform this procedure without being able to provide follow-up treatment for the associated complications.
The Catholic Church in Texas, in communion with millions of Catholics and pro-life people across America and the world, will continue our efforts to protect life and human dignity from conception to natural death.

The Texas Catholic Conference is the association of the Roman Catholic bishops of Texas. Through the TCC, the bishops provide a moral and social public policy voice that includes monitoring all legislation pertaining to Catholic moral and social teaching; accredit the state's Catholic schools; and maintain records that reflect the work and the history of the Catholic Church in Texas. 

The Washington Post reports: Supreme Court rules against Texas and for science in abortion case

In the biggest case in a quarter-century on the topic, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the new measures are constitutional or whether they place an undue burden on women seeking abortion. In Monday's opinion, the justices overturned Texas's abortion restrictions 5 to 3. The decision could have a ripple effect in other states across the nation. 

As the Texas case made its way through the federal courts over the years, numerous misunderstandings and pure fiction about the health risks of abortion entered the debate. Among them are claims that the procedure is fraught with complications, causes cancer, leads to reduced fertility and results in depression, or even suicide.

Among the most critical questions the Supreme Court had to address is whether courts need to consider scientific evidence supporting the laws. A lower court said they do not. But there was a lot for the justices to look at in the medical literature.

The most important thing to know is that a number of recent analyses have dispelled the notion that abortion -- as it is practiced now, legally in the United States (abortion in the past and in other countries is a different story) -- is unsafe. 

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The Los Angeles Times reports live from outside the court house: Abortion-rights activists and protesters flood the court plaza after decision


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