In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that required abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. On Wednesday, arguments on a similar law out of Louisiana will be heard by the high court, but with one "major difference," per NBC News: This time around, Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will be on the bench and part of the court's conservative majority. It also "marks a key moment for Chief Justice John Roberts, who has never voted against an abortion restriction," the Washington Post notes, though it adds Roberts is a proponent of precedent. "There's a lot on the line in this case, and more than most people realize," a Florida State University law professor tells the Wall Street Journal.
What exactly is on the line: If the justices decide to uphold Louisiana's Act 620 and make doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges—an often-onerous process that critics say isn't necessary, as abortion is generally a very safe procedure—then Louisiana could see itself go from three abortion clinics to just one, reports the New York Times. "Our legislators have been very clear and vocal that they would love Louisiana to become the first state to be without an abortion provider," says Kathaleen Pittman, head of the Hope Medical Group for Women, one of the three remaining clinics. "Roe means nothing if you can't access abortion." The court's ruling, expected by June, could also have a ripple effect in other states. (Read more abortion stories.)