Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Major Abortion Case
For the first time since 2007
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2015 1:58 PM CST
In this June 30, 2014 file photo, the Supreme Court building in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court is taking on its first abortion case in eight years, a dispute over state regulation of abortion clinics. The justices said Friday they will hear arguments over a Texas law that would leave about 10 abortion clinics open across the state. A decision should come by late June, four months before the presidential election. The high court previously blocked parts of the Texas law. The focus of the dispute is whether the law imposes what the court has called an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. If allowed to take full effect, the law would leave no abortion clinics west of San Antonio and only one operating on a limited basis in the Rio Grande Valley.

States have enacted a wave of measures in recent years that have placed restrictions on when in a pregnancy abortions may be performed, imposed limits on abortions using drugs instead of surgery, and raised standards for clinics and the doctors who work in them. The new case concerns the last category. In Texas, the fight is over two provisions of the law that Gov. Rick Perry signed in 2013. One requires abortion facilities to be constructed like surgical centers. The other allows doctors to perform abortions at clinics only if they have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Texas had 41 abortion clinics before the clinic law. More than half of those closed when the admitting privileges requirement was allowed to take effect. Nineteen clinics remain. The court took no action on a separate appeal from Mississippi, where a state law would close the only abortion clinic, in Jackson.
 

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