The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down a Texas law (H.B.2) that sought to protect women’s health by requiring abortion clinics follow minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers and that abortionists have surgical privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of the abortion clinic.
In a 5-3 decision, SCOTUS decided in Whole Woman’s Health V. Hellerstedt that the Texas law posed “[u]nnecessary 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”. The case was filed by an abortion business operating in Texas.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Alito, with Chief Justice Roberts concurring, expressed disbelief that the five justices opposed sections of H.B. 2 that imposed reasonable safety measures on abortion sites.
Justice Alito wrote, “Provisions that are indisputably constitutional–for example, provisions that require facilities performing abortions to follow basic fire safety measures–are stricken from the books. There is no possible justification for this collateral damage. The Court’s patent refusal to apply well-established law in a neutral way is indefensible and will undermine public confidence in the Court as a fair and neutral arbiter.”
Justice Thomas in a separate dissent quoted the late Justice Scalia on the pro-abortion leaning of the Court, “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors. That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency “to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.” Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U. S. 914, 954 (2000) (Scalia, J., dissenting).”
He also explained the purpose of his dissent, “I write separately to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights–especially the putative right to abortion.”
Pro-life response to the decision highlighted concern for women’s health and safety. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ press release, SUPREME STUPIDITY: Common Sense Health and Safety Requirements for Elective Abortion Struck Down by Supreme Court, stated:
“By striking down common sense health and safety regulations that apply to all standard surgical procedures, the Supreme Court has not only taken away the ability of State Governments to regulate the practice of medicine within their borders but has also made elective abortion mills exempt from controls of any kind.
“This politically motivated decision by the Supreme Court will drastically reduce the safety of abortions across the country, as now abortion clinics and abortionists will be accountable to no one for the conditions inside their walls. Surgical abortion carries all the risks of any other surgery, and offices which perform abortion should have to meet the same safety standards as those who perform any other comparable surgery. Medical abortion frequently leads to severe hemorrhage resulting in the need for emergency surgery and transfusions. Today’s Supreme Court ruling means that abortion clinics across the nation are now permitted to be incapable of responding to these known and predictable surgical emergencies.”
Abortionists do not face the kind of accountability and safety environments in which all other physicians operate. Today the Supreme Court made abortionists immune from peer accountability and immune from state regulation. This lack of accountability legally minimizes the safety of women undergoing abortion procedures.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Co-Chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, made the following statement: “The Supreme Court’s tragic decision today shields the abortion industry from accountability and minimal medical standards. Abortionists should not get a free pass on commonsense safety standards. Women deserve better than this decision that prioritizes the abortion industry’s profit margin.”
Court Refuses to Hear Religious Liberty Appeal from Pharmacists
In a second action, SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal from a family owned pharmacy in Washington State that believes life begins at conception and refuses to sell abortion-inducing drugs and the morning after pill citing doing so violates their conscience as Christians. A law in Washington was designed to force the Stormans family to sell the drugs despite referring customers to other pharmacies. As a result of the Court refusing to hear the case, the family is left without legal recourse to protect their freedom of religious belief.
Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, raises great concern for the future of religious liberty in the United States. He warns:
“This case is an ominous sign.
“At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for-or that they actually serve-any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”
The intent of the Washington State Board that imposed the regulations is called into question by Justice Alito who writes:
“For it seems to me likely that the Board’s regulations are not neutral and generally applicable. Quite the contrary: The evidence relied upon by the District Court suggests that the regulations are targeted at religious conduct alone, to stamp out religiously motivated referrals while allowing referrals for secular reasons (whether by rule or by wink). If that is so, the regulations are invalid unless the State can prove that they are narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest.”
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians commented on the Court’s action,
“This decision in the Stormans v. Weisman case by the Supreme Court was clearly a political win for those in the current Administration who seek to wipe out Conscientious Objection to participation in the killing of human beings. This Court has set the stage for unfettered State coercion; a coercion that extends even to forcing American citizens to have to participate in the killing of other human beings. This decision will go down in history next to Dred Scott as a decision shaming the United States and violating the foundations of this nation.”
[30 June 2016, PNCI email, www.pncius.org]
National Association of Pro-Life Nurses Statement on SCOTUS Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt Decision
This is the official statement of the National Association of Pro-life Nurses on the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision of the U.S. Supreme Court:
The National Association of Pro-life Nurses joins the chorus of astonished Americans who are in disbelief that the Supreme Court of the United States has turned their backs on American women who procure abortions in facilities which do not meet the same health and safety standards as other facilities performing similar invasive procedures.
In Whole Women’s Health V. Hellerstedt the Supreme Court has once again sacrificed the health and well-being of women to political correctness in its 5-3 decision. This is the real War on Women.
As the American Association of Pro-Life OB Gyns says (see statement below), it is Supreme Stupidity as it drastically reduces the safety of abortion across the United States.
If the Texas law and similar other state laws across the country incur an “undue burden” on the abortion industry, do not similar laws governing the safety and health standards of other free-standing clinics also place an undue burden on the operators thereby negating the justification of such laws?
This is a sad day for the health of Americans everywhere with its far reaching implications and for those of us in the medical profession who are forced to observe these tragic decisions. Such is the state of political correctness in America today.
For Immediate Release from The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
SUPREME STUPIDITY: Common Sense Health and Safety Requirements for Elective Abortion Struck Down by Supreme Court
As a professional body of 4000 physicians and reproductive health care professionals, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists exists to defend both the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children. AAPLOG is greatly concerned about the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt, the Texas Clinic Regulations case.
By striking down common sense health and safety regulations that apply to all standard surgical procedures, the Supreme Court has not only taken away the ability of State Governments to regulate the practice of medicine within their borders but has also made elective abortion mills exempt from controls of any kind.
This politically motivated decision by the Supreme Court will drastically reduce the safety of abortions across the country, as now abortion clinics and abortionists will be accountable to no one for the conditions inside their walls.
Surgical abortion carries all the risks of any other surgery, and offices which perform abortion should have to meet the same safety standards as those who perform any other comparable surgery.
Medical abortion frequently leads to severe hemorrhage resulting in the need for emergency surgery and transfusions.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling means that abortion businesses across the nation are now permitted to be incapable of responding to these known and predictable surgical emergencies.
The people of Texas clearly wanted to protect women who undergo elective abortion from the Gosnell-type situations in which the woman’s life is put in jeopardy by substandard conditions. The 5 unelected Justices in the Supreme Court today prevented the State of Texas from regulating the practice of medicine within Texas.
Abortionists do not face the kind of accountability and safety environments in which all other physicians operate. Today the Supreme Court made abortionists immune from peer accountability and immune from state regulation.
This lack of accountability legally minimizes the safety of women undergoing abortion procedures.
Those who promote elective abortion as a “medical” procedure desire the status of medicine, without the responsibility of patient safety or accountability. This Supreme Court decision puts abortionists and their substandard practices above the law. This decision will effectively allow abortionists to practice without meeting basic safety requirements. If the Supreme Court really cared about women’s health, this was an exceedingly stupid decision.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a professional organization of over 4000 Reproductive Health Care physicians, midwives and others across the country. AAPLOG exists to provide an evidence based defense of both the pregnant woman and her unborn child.