Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision in June Medical Services v. Russo
Yesterday the United States Supreme Court, on a narrow 5-4 vote, issued June Medical Services v. Russo to prevent enforcement of Louisiana’s law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have privileges to practice medicine at a nearby hospital. The decision continues to allow abortion providers to challenge laws in federal court without any women as actual plaintiffs. Justice Breyer wrote the opinion for the Court, with a concurrence by Chief Justice Roberts. Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Thomas wrote dissents.
The following statement is attributed to our Executive Director Joe Pojman, Ph.D.:
The Supreme Court’s ruling is disappointing; however, it is not a setback. We have lost no ground. The rule requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital privileges in Louisiana, Texas, and other states, reasonable as it is, cannot be enforced today just as it could not be enforced prior to this ruling. Abortion facilities can continue to challenge safety regulations that clearly benefit the women they claim to represent. Additionally, there was no expectation the Court would overrule Roe v. Wade today because Louisiana did not ask for that.
The takeaway from today’s ruling is not lost on us. The Supreme Court’s unjust Roe v. Wade precedent must be reconsidered from an unbiased perspective. That did not happen today. The Supreme Court needs more justices willing to take a fresh look at Roe like those appointed by President Donald Trump. Our organization will continue to urge voters to re-elect President Trump.
In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2, with strong support from Texas Alliance for Life, to ban abortions after five months and to increase safety requirements at abortion facilities within the state. Among the safety requirements was a provision that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility and that the abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
In 2016, those safety provisions were blocked by the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In 2014, Louisiana passed a law similar to the admitting privileges law in Texas. This law was put on hold during the Whole Woman’s Health decision, and using the Supreme Court’s framework, it was not allowed to be enforced by a federal district court but was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In January the Supreme Court blocked the Fifth Circuit’s judgment while considering the case.