SCOTUS To Decide If States Can Use Sham Health Laws To Restrict Abortions

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to take on the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole–a case which could have a huge impact on a woman’s right to choose in this country.

Whole Women’s Health is challenging the Texas law using sham “health regulations”–like requiring doctors providing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital–in order to make it harder to obtain an abortion.

If the court decides in favor of Whole Woman’s Health, that would mean that Texas can’t close all the clinics it wants to. It may also mean that other laws like this–like laws requiring waiting periods for abortions–that purport to be for a woman’s “benefit” but actually just make getting an abortion more difficult–could also be deemed unconstitutional.

However, if they decide against, we’re basically fucked. More conservative states would be able to enact completely absurd laws whose only purpose is to mess with people trying to have an abortion. It’s basically going to kill Roe V. Wade, and that is a really scary thing.

The swing vote in this case is Kennedy, as it always is in abortion-related cases. On the one hand, Kennedy found against overturning Roe V. Wade–but on the other, he authored the Carhart opinion on the extremely messed up Federal Abortion Ban. However, he did vote in favor of a temporary stay on Texas’ new abortion laws, which perhaps gives us an idea of how he might vote in this case.

I actually have hope for this going our way. Primarily because the heart of the issue here isn’t even so much abortion as it is whether or not states can make up laws that say they serve one purpose but are actually meant to serve another, in order to get around the law. This could actually have far-reaching effects well outside of abortion. As citizens, I think it’s objectively fair to say that we deserve to have laws that are made in earnest.

Really, depending on how this decision is interpreted, it could even affect voting rights. Republicans have a tendency to promote laws supposedly targeting “fraud” that are actually meant to prevent poor people and black people from voting, due to the fact that they are more likely to vote Democrat.

Am I nervous? Yeah, I am. This could go really, really badly. But I have hope that the Supreme Court will not find in favor of the government being allowed to bullshit us.

[ThinkProgress]