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Chief Justice John Roberts Joins Liberals In Abortion Ruling

February 7, 2019

Some conservatives think they have a right to chip away and undermine women’s health.  But then comes others who stand up and say no.

This vote tonight was logical.  It was absurd to think it proper to assume that one doctor, at one clinic, could possibly meet the needs of approximately 10,000 women who seek abortion services in Louisiana each year.

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a Louisiana law that its opponents say could have left the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2014, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. In 2017, Judge John W. deGravelles of the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge struck down the law, saying that such doctors were often unable to obtain admitting privileges for reasons unrelated to their competence and that the law created an undue burden on women’s constitutional right to abortion.

The Louisiana law, Judge deGravelles ruled, was essentially identical to one from Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in a 2016 decisionWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority in the 2016 decision, said courts must consider whether the claimed benefits of laws putting restrictions on abortion outweigh the burdens they placed on the constitutional right to the procedure.

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