Supreme Court’s abortion decision

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to regulate abortion procedures does not change the ongoing controversy about the Supreme Court’s approach to this area. Many observers would prefer it if the court were to explicitly resolve the underlying constitutional issues but in this case that’s not necessary.

The question the Court will consider is whether states have the right to place rules and regulations that keep abortion clinics out of the areas they believe are infertile areas, like poorer, rural areas, to prevent women from being forced to travel great distances in order to obtain an abortion. That case will rest on precedent set in the case of Roe v. Wade.

In the shorter term, Roe v. Wade itself will be closely studied for any signs of new changes in the direction of the court’s approach to abortion as a matter of law. While the Court will probably uphold the restrictions that have been upheld in other cases — states have been deciding this issue at the state level since the Court ruled in Roe v. Wade — there are a number of states that have adopted restrictive abortion legislation that could, in theory, overrule Roe v. Wade on those grounds.

One such state — Louisiana — will be hearing oral arguments next week in an abortion case the Court took up in March. In Louisiana, abortion law prohibits the use of fetal tissue in certain medical procedures, and plaintiffs have argued that the ban deprives pregnant women of a constitutionally protected right to abortion by banning the use of “intrauterine devices” (IUDs, implants, pills, etc.). According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 84,000 women in Louisiana have IUDs.

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