A Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod, Esq.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, overturned a commonsense Louisiana law that required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
The facts are clear: Abortion harms women, and women have serious complications from undergoing abortions. That’s why states like Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona have adopted laws to provide for women’s health and safety by requiring that doctors providing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
These laws ensure that women have a “continuum of care” should they be injured in the abortion clinic and require transport to a local hospital.
The most troubling aspect of today’s ruling came from Chief Justice John Roberts who provided the deciding vote. Four years ago, Justice Roberts dissented when the Court struck down a similar Texas law as unconstitutional. Today, he wrote, that the “question was not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case. The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike.”
In response to Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas again asserts in dissent that adherence to precedent is not “an inexorable command.” Justice Thomas wrote that the Louisiana law “was perfectly legitimate.” Further, he wrote regarding prior abortion-related decisions, “But those decisions created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text. Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled.”
Somehow providing for women’s health and safety remains a “substantial obstacle” or “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion. The tragedy of abortion continues in our land.
Whether or not today’s ruling jeopardizes other common-sense abortion regulations remains to be seen. Further in-depth legal analysis will be necessary to determine what type of abortion regulations, and what type of “special circumstances” Justice Roberts will find necessary to uphold states’ rights to regulate abortions in ways to protect women’s health and safety and preborn children’s lives.
Today, we grieve for the women that will be injured by abortion doctors and by the refusal of five justices to provide for their continuum of care. We continue to grieve for the lives of preborn babies lost to abortion.
Lastly, we continue to await the Court’s decisions in three more cases critical to First Amendment rights of faith-based organizations. Those decisions may come down tomorrow.
To say the Court’s direction is troubling is an understatement. While we see many troubling signs today at all levels of government, we know we are not to despair. Nor are we to grow weary in well-doing.
Rather, we are to renew and intensify our efforts to convince the culture that abortion takes the lives of preborn children and hurts their mothers. And the free exercise of religion is essential to the existence of freedom itself in our great nation.
We are less than two weeks away from early voting for Arizona’s August 4 Primary Election. It is incumbent on everyone one of us to know where policymakers stand on issues like abortion and religious freedom when casting our votes. Watch for our emails later this week announcing the availability of www.azvoterguide.com as an unbiased source for where candidates say they stand on issues of importance this election season.
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