The justices voted 5-3 Monday in favor of Texas clinics that protested the regulations as a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation’s second-most populous state.
Justice Stephen Breyer’s majority opinion for the court held that the regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman’s right to an abortion.
One part of the law requires all clinics in the state to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
“We conclude,” Justice Breyer wrote, “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, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”
The clinics challenging the law say it has already caused about half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics to close. If the contested provisions take full effect, they say, the number of clinics would again be cut in half.
See, this is the thing. A number of traditionalist Christians like to compare LGBT rights to abortion in an effort to be hopeful about our cause. “It has taken a while, but people are more pro-life now than they were when Roe was decided,” the argument goes. “We’re winning the argument.”
That’s not really true, or at least isn’t as true as we would like to think Americans may be more willing to believe that abortion is immoral, but most want it legal to some degree. The Texas law only required that abortion clinics be regulated like other outpatient centers — hardly an unreasonable restriction. But that’s not how SCOTUS sees it. A monster like Kermit Gosnell is a price they are willing to pay to keep abortion as available as possible.
The bottom line, it seems to me, is that the Supreme Court will never let any state restriction stand meaningfully in the way of the Sexual Revolution. Ever. No federalism, no democracy, not when it comes to defending the Sexual Revolution.
One does wonder at what point in the future Americans in certain parts of the country will have had enough of this kind of thing, and will spark a constitutional crisis. If Trump is elected president, I expect California to do this. But at some point, I don’t know when, a liberal president or Supreme Court is going to trigger this from a state like Texas. Increasingly, I can’t say this is going to be a bad thing. When you realize how rigged the game is, you wonder why we play.