27Jun 2016

The US Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that a Texas law regulating abortion is unconstitutional as it places substantial obstacle which the court deemed an “undue burden” on a women’s right to seek an abortion. There were two provisions of the Texas law that were challenged and ruled unconstitutional.

The first provision labeled by the court as the “admitting-privileges requirement” provided that, “a physician performing or inducing an abortion … must, on the date the abortion is performed or induced, have active admitting privileges at a hospital that … is located not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.”

The second provision, which the court deemed the “surgical-center requirement” required that “the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards adopted under [the Texas Health and Safety Code section] for ambulatory surgical centers.”

The court concluded that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. V. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 878, and each violates the Federal Constitution Amdt. 14 § 1., which held that “a statute which, while furthering [a] valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends.” In Casey, the court went on to hold that, “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right” id., at 878.