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Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Texas Abortion Law

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Texas Abortion Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to abortion rights advocates, striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities that its critics contended were specifically designed to shut down clinics.

The 5-3 ruling held that the Republican-backed 2013 law placed an undue burden on women exercising their constitutional right to end a pregnancy established in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The normally nine-justice court was one member short after the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who consistently opposed abortion in past rulings.

Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joined liberal members of the court in ruling that both key provisions of the law violate a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

By setting a nationwide legal precedent that the two provisions in the Texas law were unconstitutional, the ruling imperils laws already in place in other states.

Texas had said its law, passed by a Republican-led legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2013, was aimed at protecting women’s health. The abortion providers had said the regulations were medically unnecessary and intended to shut down clinics. Since the law was passed, the number of abortion clinics in Texas, the second-most-populous U.S. state with about 27 million people, has dropped from 41 to 19.

Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration supported the challenge brought by the abortion providers.

The Texas law required abortion doctors to have “admitting privileges,” a type of formal affiliation that can be hard to obtain, at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic so they can treat patients needing surgery or other critical care.

The law also required clinic buildings to possess costly, hospital-grade facilities. These regulations covered numerous building features such as corridor width, the swinging motion of doors, floor tiles, parking spaces, elevator size, ventilation, electrical wiring, plumbing, floor tiling and even the angle that water flows from drinking fountains.

The last time the justices decided a major abortion case was nine years ago when they ruled 5-4 to uphold a federal law banning a late-term abortion procedure.

Some U.S. states have pursued a variety of restrictions on abortion, including banning certain types of procedures, prohibiting it after a certain number of weeks of gestation, requiring parental permission for girls until a certain age, imposing waiting periods or mandatory counseling, and others.

Americans remain closely divided over whether abortion should be legal. In a Reuters/Ipso online poll involving 6,769 U.S. adults conducted from June 3 to June 22, 47 percent of respondents said abortion generally should be legal and 42 percent said it generally should be illegal.

Views on abortion in the United States have changed very little over the decades, according to historical polling data.

 

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Adfam DeRose; Editing by Will Dunham)

Photo: Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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23 Comments

  1. Eleanore Whitaker June 27, 2016

    Now the Dodge City Boys will be hot to secede for sure. Not getting their way is not an option according to them. It’s bad enough they are suffering from Big Oil tanking, the loss of that 2500 mile long Keystone pipeline added to the already existing 1.6 million miles of underground pipelines in the US, but now no control over women? How dare they? rofl

    Reply
    1. drdroad June 27, 2016

      Love your posts, but Dodge City is in Kansas, was just there. And as for seceding, I’m all for it. A USA with only 49 states sound fine to me if the missing one is Texas. Although the experts say Texas will be blue within 20 years.

      Reply
      1. Independent1 June 27, 2016

        Well, it there’s one state that America could do well without, it’s the one that ranks in the worst 10 in the nation in 100% of 23 subjective socio-economic and some other measures; Namely Texas.

        See these disaster statistics most of them from the 2012-13 timeframe but they haven’t changed much since then – a couple have gotten better but others have gotten worse:

        .Texas is 49th in the country in tax revenues collected per capita and 50th in revenues spent.

        .Texas is 44th in tax progressivity, which means it collects most of its taxes from working people and it comes in 50th in the percent of its population that have a HS diploma and it is also 49th in what it pays its teachers.

        .Texas ranks dead last (50th) in having the most people without health
        insurance and also dead last in the number of children covered by insurance.

        .Texas is 49th in the support it provides to women & children in the WIC program, and it leads the nation in teenage births.

        .Texas ranks 6th in the nation in the number of people living in poverty and 50th with regard to the affordability of homeowners insurance.

        .Texas ranks 45th in the overall health of its population and 47th
        with respect to mental health.

        .The quality of the highways in Texas is ranked 42nd and its parks and recreation facilities are ranked 48th and environmental protection 46th

        . Police protection in Texas is ranked 49th and government administration 50th.

        .Texas comes in 3rd in the nation in the number of public officials that are convicted for a crime; while being dead last in the percent of voters who turn out for elections.

        .Texas is 46th in the hourly earnings of its workers and 48th in the payout of worker’s comp benefits.

        .Texas also was designated as having the worst healthcare services and delivery in the nation for 2014 and 2015 according to the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

        .And Texas ranks as having the most polluted environment in the nation because of all the oil spills and toxic fumes that are spewed by all its oil refineries and coal-fired power plants.

        Reply
        1. PrecipitousDrop June 27, 2016

          I wonder what kind of border walls Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico will put up on their Texas state lines?

          Reply
          1. Independent1 June 27, 2016

            Considering how wacko and even crooked some of the politicians Texas has sent to Washington have been, I’d suggest they should put up a wall really designed to keep Texas escapees from crossing into any of those states.

            And thinking even more about just how damaging to America some of the Texas politicians have been over the past 15 plus years especially – I’m not sure that Washington shouldn’t have expelled Texas from the Union after the gangster like stunt that Bush and Cheney pulled on our country – clearly the largest con job ever perpetrated in the history of our planet.

            I think this article from the DailyKos explains the damage Bush did to America pretty well:

            George W. Bush Did Something Much Worse Than Lie Us Into War

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/05/22/1386781/-George-W-Bush-Did-Something-Much-Worse-Than-Lie-Us-Into-War?detail=emailclassic&link_id=1&can_id=a411792ec3538dd9b3c310bcf6fda8aa&source=email-george-w-bush-did-something-much-worse-than-lie-us-into-war&email_referrer=george-w-bush-did-something-much-worse-than-lie-us-into-war&email_subject=george-w-bush-did-something-much-worse-than-lie-us-into-war

            Reply
  2. jmprint June 27, 2016

    Thank you Justice Anthony Kennedy. Now there is a good example of a judge that will not put his political stance in front of people’s rights. Republicans need to get over it, it is a constitutional right.

    Reply
  3. waggaze June 27, 2016

    What made these intellectually challenged bible beaters think they could violate federal law to appease all of these men who want to control their barefoot and pregnant women in Texas? They’ve been shown that not all women are barefoot and.pregnant bending to the will of menfolk and not all attended Texas Woman College either. Serves these nut jobs right to get their comeuppance by SCOTUA. Now Ohio, IN, OK and the rest of these republican controlled guvnors we’re coming to knock your bible neater anti-choice laws down to the ground!!

    Reply
  4. ivory69690@yahoo.com June 27, 2016

    as this was something I believe is a good thing from the party who backs it . on this topic I might not be fully enlighten on . but still feel good about what I know . then I think maybe if the vote on this was a TIE that would maybe be more reasons that the country needs 9 SCJ’s and not 8 to push the fact the 9th one needed is on the watch of this Pres. and shouldn’t be pushed down the road . (pushing down the road) seems to be the GOP gang of idiots plan on every thing thy do . maybe if thy was to take care of things when thy come up instead of down the road things might be better for the country and the people .

    Reply
  5. johninPCFL June 27, 2016

    It’s good that the mostly conservative Supreme Court sided with the “small government” conservatives today and told Texas that its large-government nose (enhanced by more than half with Rick Perry) does not belong in the clinic where an intelligent woman is talking with her doctor about her own care.

    Reply
  6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 27, 2016

    Justice has been served in a case which once again highlights many of our “white male” brothers’ insistence on forcing their views on others, particularly when it involves the right of women to determine issues that pertain to THEIR physical and mental well-being.

    As a side note: It’s not a surprise that justice Thomas still can’t figure out which side of his toast is buttered after so many decades of questionable service on the highest bench in the land.
    As for the other dissenters, it’s no surprise that they are still weighed down by the albatross of conservative-thinking around their necks.

    (I was going to insert a familiar adjective before his name and decided I should abstain).

    Reply
  7. Otto T. Goat June 27, 2016

    She won’t be needing an abortion.

    Reply
    1. PrecipitousDrop June 27, 2016

      Hey, Otto! Good to see you again!

      Reply
        1. PrecipitousDrop June 27, 2016

          Awww, Otto!
          A little animation, for Me?
          Baby, you really should save this stuff for people who care, OK?

          Reply
          1. Otto T. Goat June 27, 2016

            It’s funny you think I remember you.

            Reply
          2. PrecipitousDrop June 27, 2016

            Oh, SO glad you think it’s funny today.
            Your memory troubles make you so sad sometimes.
            Oh, well!
            We do what we can.

            Reply
          3. Otto T. Goat June 28, 2016

            Try being less forgettable.

            Reply
          4. PrecipitousDrop June 28, 2016

            I wish it was my call, Otto. Really. I do.
            Your growing dementia sux.

            Reply
          5. Otto T. Goat June 28, 2016

            QED.

            Reply
          6. PrecipitousDrop June 28, 2016

            Oh?
            Ha!
            Yes! Good one, old duck! Ha ha!

            Reply
  8. Robert Karma June 27, 2016

    A victory for women’s reproductive health and a defeat for the obsessive pro-fetus, pro-suffering, anti-life agenda of the radical religious right.

    Reply
  9. PrecipitousDrop June 27, 2016

    I doubt I’ll hear better news today.
    Thanks for passing it on.

    Reply

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