Monday, June 27, 2016

Supreme Court Chooses Facts Over Malarky In Texas Abortion Case

Most people seemed to understand that the 2013 changes in requirements for abortion clinics in Texas  were just smokescreens.When the case finally made it to the US Supreme Court, Justice Breyer called them on it (from Mother Jones):
"Justice Breyer explains several times in his opinion that the court did not buy Texas' argument that the admitting privileges and ASC requirements benefit women's health. "Nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely to result in death," he wrote, "but Texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient's own home. Colonoscopy, a procedure that typically takes place outside a hospital (or surgical center) setting, has a mortality rate 10 times higher than an abortion." Breyer adds in a parenthetical that he repeated from the bench, and that Justice Kagan mentioned during oral arguments in March: "The mortality rate for liposuction, another outpatient procedure, is 28 times higher than the mortality rate for abortion." Of the admitting privileges requirement, Breyer writes bluntly: "We add that, when directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case."

Since Texas lost at the lower court level, a four-four tie would have meant Texas lost their case (and the women of Texas had won.)  But with Kennedy joining the majority, it means that even without a new Obama or Clinton appointee, abortion rights for women who need them, are safe at the Supreme Court for a while.

Texas lawmakers' intention to circumvent the law of the land by pretending to make rules to protect the safety of women getting abortions didn't pass the red face test.  Breyer cited those examples of more dangerous procedures that don't have the same kinds of restrictions to show it wasn't safety they were concerned with.  There really ought to be a way to make such lawmakers accountable for all the heartaches and extra expenses it caused women, not to mention the disruptions to many clinics, and the time wasted taking this to the US Supreme Court.  But I suspect some of those lawmakers are smirking and happy for all those issues I just listed.

For the whole Supreme Court decision, click here.

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