Court rules against Texas abor­tion laws

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By David Lawler in Wash­ing­ton

ABOR­TION rights ac­tivists won a land­mark vic­tory yes­ter­day as the US Supreme Court ruled that laws in Texas which would have forced half of the state’s abor­tion clin­ics to close were un­con­sti­tu­tional.

It could put a spate of abor­tion laws passed in a num­ber of con­ser­va­tive states in re­cent years in jeop­ardy.

The laws serve al­most as de facto bans on abor­tion by forc­ing clin­ics to close and in­sti­tut­ing oner­ous re­stric­tions on doc­tors and pa­tients, with­out ex­pressly con­tra­dict­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed right to abor­tion.

The Texas laws in­val­i­dated by the rul­ing forced clin­ics to have hos­pi­tal-level sur­gi­cal fa­cil­i­ties and man­dated that doc­tors have the abil­ity to ad­mit pa­tients to nearby hos­pi­tals.

Ad­vo­cates said the mea­sures were im­ple­mented out of con­cern for women’s health, but op­po­nents in­sisted they were de­signed to make it all but im­pos­si­ble to have an abor­tion.

Hil­lary Clin­ton, the pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, called the de­ci­sion “a vic­tory for wom- en in Texas and across Amer­ica”. How­ever, Carol To­bias, pres­i­dent of Na­tional Right to Life, coun­tered that the laws were in­tended to com­bat the “filthy, de­plorable con­di­tions” at abor­tion clin­ics and lam­basted the court for de­cid­ing that “they know bet­ter” than elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The court ruled 5-3 that the laws placed an “un­due bur­den” on women.

Amy Hagstrom-Miller, pres­i­dent of Whole Woman’s Health, the group that brought the chal­lenge to the Texas laws to the Supreme Court, said “jus­tice was served”.

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