In a surprise, Court smacks down Louisiana abortion restrictions


Andrew Harnik AP

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of ME is under renewed political scrutiny Monday for supporting the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in the wake of the Court's divided decision that struck down a Louisiana law restricting abortion.

In a key victory for abortion rights activists, the justices voted 5-4 to overrule a state law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Professor Murray says it's not the end of challenges to abortion rights in the U.S., which were cemented by the Roe v Wade case in 1973. In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a near identical law in Texas.

"This case is similar to, almost identical with, Whole Woman's Health".

And though it wouldn't seem like Louisiana's law has much to do with ME, people online are reminding Sen.

During that process, Kavanaugh was repeatedly asked about how he would decide in abortion cases, and the ME senator said she did not believe he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. "But, nonetheless, [he] ruled against the law yesterday and as Justice Thomas pointed out this case shouldn't even be in court".

Severino pointed out that, in this case, Roberts and the court "seem to have made an exception for abortion".

However, the 5th Circuit appeals court determined no clinics would "likely be forced to close" because of the law, and allowed it to stand.

According to Severino, who was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' clerk, Roberts did not have to actually overturn settled law to find in favor of Louisiana.

The 2014 Louisiana law said that doctors must hold privileges at hospitals within 30 miles (48km) of their practice - which the state argued was to protect women's health.

Yet earlier this month the court expanded equal protection rights to gay and transgender people, and sustained protections for certain undocumented immigrants that President Trump had sought to end.

Dissenting on that decision, along with others, was Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

His ruling came after Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs in Kansas City had previously blocked the law, finding that women's abortion rights were "being denied on a daily basis, in irreparable fashion".

In that 2016 case, Breyer wrote that the admitting-privilege requirement "provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so".

Missouri has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

The Louisiana measure - introduced by Democrat Rep. Katrina Jackson - gained passage with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both houses and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

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