Here’s the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/us/texas-abortion-clinic-rules-tested-in-appeals-court.html
The case is about a Texas law that requires abortion clinics to meet equipment and safety standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Apparently, these laws have been passed in many states. In Texas, the result will be the closing of many facilities, so that women seeking an abortion could have to travel hundreds of miles to obtain one. The question before the court, as far as I understand it, is whether that would constitute an undue burden. I think a similar law in Mississippi (maybe?) was overturned, since it would have closed the only clinic in that state, and it was considered an undue burden to force women to travel to another state. I don’t know which court level it was overturned.
I have at least two questions for the crack legal scholars here (and anyone else who wants to join in, of course) at the SDMB:
- Do you think this constitutes an undue burden, given Supreme Court precedent as it is today?
- If the case makes it all the way to SCOTUS, how do you think they will rule?
My non-law-talking-person opinion is:
- Yes, this would be an undue burden. First of all, there may be no actual medical reason for these restrictions, but I understand that’s OK under rational basis. More importantly, the effect on poor women may ultimately be that there’s effectively no access to this (currently) constitutionally protected procedure. That second part makes this unduly burdensome.
- I think the SCOTUS would probably rule against the abortion clinics, 5-4, with the usual conservative/liberal split.
If it’s possible, I would love to avoid arguing the morality of abortion in this thread. If I have misrepresented the case, I welcome correction.