Supreme Court to Consider First Abortion Case Since Trump Appointees Joined Bench

The United States Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C.

The United States Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C.

Louisiana's law is controversial and clearly created to make it as hard as possible for women to obtain an abortion - as most abortion laws that have passed through conservative-controlled state legislatures over the past few years have been.

While the case does not directly challenge Roe v Wade, supporters of abortion rights are fearful that this is the first of what could be a growing number of opportunities for the new conservative majority to chip away at abortion rights.

This is the first abortion case heard with Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the High Court.

"Today the court agreed to hear the Louisiana case challenging identical laws, modeled on Texas, after seeing almost all of our clinics shuttered", Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, told ABC News Friday. But the narrow majority includedKennedy, who retired past year.

Similarly, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said the Supreme Court "now has a chance in this case to reconsider, reverse, and return Roe v. Wade and the issue of abortion to the American people, which is long overdue".

In 2016, the Supreme Court rejected a similar law in Texas after a challenge from Whole Woman's Health, a health organization that provides abortions, that required doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and mandated that abortion clinics meet state requirements for licensed surgical centers. Critics of the Louisiana law say the requirement is costly, burdensome and likely to drive many abortion providers out of business, which in turn will severely limit women's access to the procedure. Kennedy often joined the court's liberals to strike down abortion restrictions and many have seen Kavanaugh as a possible vote for overturning or scaling back the landmark Roe decision.

"The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear June Medical Services v. Gee, a case that could well be the vehicle the Court's conservatives use to gut the right to an abortion", they write. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were in dissent.

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Louisiana only has three licensed abortion clinics. No provider, the state promised, would be forced to immediately cease operations.

Alabama used the same argument in briefs to US district Myron Thompson, who is considering whether to issue a preliminary injunction, halting Alabama's abortion ban law from going into effect on November 15. If the challengers still thought the law imposed an undue burden they could bring their challenges at that time. Attorneys for the state of Louisiana appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court and ruled Act 620 could take effect, in a rogue decision that effectively declared the Whole Woman's Health ruling was limited to the fight over clinic closure laws in Texas.

The court will likely render a decision by June.

In February, the court granted one clinic's request for an emergency stay of the law while the case proceeds. "We're hopeful that the Court will recognize how devastating this law would be for women in our state".

The dispute arises out of the prosecution of a California woman who was convicted of tricking undocumented immigrants into believing that they could obtain lawful immigration status if they paid her to file paperwork on their behalf.

Also Friday, the court agreed to hear an appeal by energy companies and the Trump administration asking the court to overturn an appeals court ruling and reinstate a permit to allow construction of a natural gas pipeline through two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.

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