What Happened at the Supreme Court Yesterday?
“Looming” is an appropriate word to describe the atmosphere around the current abortion rights case before the Supreme Court. On March 4th, oral arguments were heard in June Medical Services V. Russo, while outside the court, pro-choice activists, along with anti-abortion protesters, rallied.
While a decision won’t come from the court until this summer, here’s what you should know right now about the case and its implications for abortion access.
What is June Medical v. Russo?
This case is a challenge to a Louisiana law (Louisian Act 620, or Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act), enacted in June 2014, which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed. June Medical is identical to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, struck down in Texas in 2016, declaring that requiring admitting privileges placed an “undue burden” on those seeking abortion care. In September 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals revisited the 2016 decision and declared that, unlike in Texas, Louisiana actually needs the admitting privileges law to be in place in order to ensure the health and well-being of pregnant people. The question before the Supreme Court is whether or not Louisiana can enact Act 620, or if the law violates the right to abortion access.