SCOTUS Backs Texas Abortion Law

Supreme Court rules on future of Texas abortion law

Supreme Court rules on future of Texas abortion law

U.S. Supreme Court
SCOTUS voted 5 to 4 to keep the Texas abortion law in tact. Courtesy photo
Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters an abortion bill at the Texas Capitol
State Sen. Wendy Davis during her filibuster in June. Photo by Tom Reel
Abortion rally protestors march by Capitol
Protestors took to the streets in Austin this summer. Photo by Jon Shapley
Cecile Richards at abortion rally in Texas
Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards at a pro-choice rally. Cecile Richards / Twitter
U.S. Supreme Court
Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters an abortion bill at the Texas Capitol
Abortion rally protestors march by Capitol
Cecile Richards at abortion rally in Texas

The Supreme Court has delivered a blow to opponents of the Texas abortion law by refusing to block a key provision that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting rights at a hospital within 30 miles.

On November 19, the Supreme Court voted along conservative/liberal (and it should be noted male/female) lines 5 to 4 to keep the admitting provision. The justices spent the past week examining the issue brought forth by Justice Antonin Scalia. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito joined Scalia in writing the majority opinion.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Anthony M. Kennedy presumably joined their conservative colleagues and voted to uphold the law, according to SCOTUSblog.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer joined the women of the bench — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in voting to block the provision which, it has been argued, places unnecessary burdens on poor and rural-dwelling women in Texas.

It's been a topsy-turvy path for the new law, made famous of course by gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' filibuster in June. In October, Judge Lee Yeakel, a federal judge in Austin, ruled the new law unconstitutional saying, "The act's admitting-privileges provision is without a rational basis."

The Fifth Circuit overturned Yeakel's decision, fast tracking it to hallowed halls of SCOTUS.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood (and daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards) said in a statement, "While we are deeply disappointed, this isn’t over. We will take every step we can to protect the health of Texas women.

"This law is blocking women in Texas from getting a safe and legal medical procedure that has been their constitutionally protected right for 40 years."

For now, the law remains in effect, but there is still one more hurdle it must overcome. The case remains on appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals with arguments set to begin in January.