In a case that could serve as a bellwether for future pro-life movements at the state level, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a sharply divided decision, refused to block a key provision of a Texas abortion law earlier Tuesday.
In the 5-4 decision, SCOTUS left intact a provision that requires abortion doctors to maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in the event of an emergency, added in response to the horrors surrounding the Kermit Gosnell abortion mill in Pennsylvania. Doctors failing to maintain such privileges, under the law, are forced to abandon their practice. Opponents of the measure argue the measure will make it more difficult to obtain an abortion if left in place, while supporters say the provision is necessary as a matter of the woman’s safety.
While SCOTUS refused to intervene, the case still faces a key 5th Circuit Court appeal in January as to the constitutionality of the law. However, it’s a key win for a pro-life movement that’s been hoping to make headway in the States to coincide with the decades-long increase in support for abortion restrictions, particularly thanks to recent advances in medical technology and physiological understanding of human development.
Our view: The Texas law is an important stepping stone for similar laws to be taken up in other states. In addition to the ban on abortions occurring after 20 weeks, the provision in question places, what should be anyway, opponents notwithstanding, a reasonable requirement for abortion “doctors” to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital should an emergency arise, as they can and do. As only a single slip of an instrument can render a woman with a life-threatening hemorrhage, perforated uterus, or worse, this provision will go a long way towards ensuring that women are near emergency help when needed. Why opponents (who claim to support women so vociferously) have such heartburn over this is bewildering.
Moreover, the law places Texas in line with most of Europe (wild, I know), which for years has had in place common sense restrictions on abortion that limits the practice to pregnancies that haven’t reached viability age (roughly 24 weeks, though shrinking).
We believe that all human life, from the unborn to the elderly, is of inestimable worth and that lives ought not be snuffed out before having a chance. One only hopes the Texas law will encourage others to follow suit.
Hat tip: Townhall.com