The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in favor of access to abortion and at the expense of the safety of women. That’s the essence of the Court’s decision to strike down a Texas law in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
The case revolves around a 2013 Texas law that established that abortion clinics must meet the same health safety standards as ambulatory surgery centers, which includes doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles. The women of Whole Woman’s Health argued this would restrict the availability of abortion services and therefore posed an “undue burden” upon them.
The phrase “undue burden” refers to the legal test of state regulatory authority as defined in the 1992 abortion case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That case established that states had the right to regulate abortion as long as they did not create an “undue burden” upon women.
Common Sense Defied
As an orthopedic surgeon I regularly perform surgical procedures at an ambulatory surgery center. That center must meet federal standards that ensure the safety of those procedures for all patients. In order to prepare for the rare emergency, all surgeons must have admitting privileges at an area hospital.
But the women of Whole Woman’s Health apparently are in favor of lesser standards at abortion centers. One can only conclude they are more interested in assuring that abortions are unrestricted than providing for the safety of the women having those abortions.
In other words, we now have one standard for a woman having routine gynecological procedures such as a breast biopsy or D&C – but a lower standard if they are having an abortion – and it is women demanding this!
Why can’t these abortion clinics simply provide these higher standards? There is no shortage of money in the abortion industry that does over a million abortions per year.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion:
“Today’s decision will prompt some to claim victory, just as it will stiffen opponents’ will to object. But the entire nation has lost something essential. . . We have passed the point where ‘law’ properly speaking, has any further application.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial board says Justice Thomas is accusing his colleagues of lawlessness. The dissents of Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito accuse the majority of manipulating the Court’s precedents to police rights favored by liberal politics and to delegitimize the claims of their opponents. The favored right in this case is access to abortion.
In its decision, the Court threw out the entire Texas law, even including rules that abortion clinics comply with basic fire-safety standards. Justice Alito wrote:
“The Court’s patent refusal to apply well-established law in a neutral way is indefensible and will undermine public confidence in the Court as a fair and neutral arbiter.”
Supreme Court Appointments
This Court’s decision means there is more interest in unrestricted access to abortion than there is in providing high quality health and fire safety standards that govern ambulatory surgery centers. This highlights the importance of appointing high-quality Supreme Court justices in the future.
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the recent announcement that Justice Clarence Thomas will retire next year, and the advancing age of octogenarians Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, and soon-to-be Stephen Breyer, the makeup of the Court could change drastically in the next four years. This magnifies the importance of a new president in the White House who will appoint justices that will preserve our Constitution, religious freedom, and the future of our country.