Pro-life and pro-abortion groups alike are eager to make their voices heard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court this winter as the justices consider whether to uphold a Texas pro-life law.
The Supreme Court announced in November that it will hear a lawsuit brought by abortion businesses against the law, which is responsible for closing abortion clinics that could not guarantee they could protect the health of Texas women. The law has been credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 unborn children.
This week, a group of female, pro-abortion attorneys is getting attention after filing an amicus brief opposing the pro-life law, Slate reports. The group collected stories from 113 women who say aborting their unborn babies helped them become lawyers, the report states.
“We wanted to show … how these women would not have been able to participate as fully, or at all, in the economic and social life of the country, had it not been for their constitutionally protected right” to abortion, said Allan Arffa, who helped to spearhead the brief.
The 113 women include partners at major law firms, attorneys for public organizations and law professors, according to Modern Healthcare.
“Amici obtained their abortions at different ages and life stages, under a variety of circumstances, and for a range of reasons both medical and personal, but they are united in their strongly held belief that they would not have been able to achieve the personal or professional successes they have achieved were it not for their ability to obtain safe and legal abortions,” according to the brief.
Alexia Korber, who, with Arffa, helped launch the pro-abortion effort, told Slate that the stories are aimed at Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a swing vote in the decision. Korber said Kennedy appears to be moved by personal stories, as evidenced by his recent decision on same-sex marriage.
“Justice Kennedy was very taken with the briefs featuring narratives on behalf of the children of same-sex couples. That gives us some optimism that the court is interested and willing to hear from people like our clients talking about how important a role their abortions played in their lives,” Korber said.
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The Obama Administration also weighed in on the decision this week, LifeNews reported. When it reviews the ruling, Obama hopes the high court will ditch the pro-life law.
The administration is arguing the Republicans are hurting a woman’s ability to get access to necessary health care in the state. The law places more restrictions on clinics and physicians who perform abortions, according to a Reuters report.
An amicus brief — “friend of the court” — was filed with the Supreme Court urging that the law be struck down. A ruling on this matter could have ripple effects and could impact how other states approach such laws — in other words, they may be discouraged or encouraged to pass similar restrictions depending on how the Supreme Court rules.
Obama administration lawyers said the law’s requirements that clinics have hospital-grade facilities and clinic doctors obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital were unnecessary because abortions provided in Texas are safe and have produced a low rate of complications.
Briefs from state officials and from their supporters in the case are due in the coming weeks. Texas officials have argued in previous filings that U.S. states have an interest in protecting the health of a woman seeking an abortion and urged courts to defer to legislative authority.
On June 9, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, largely upheld the contested provisions. With minor exceptions, they concluded the provisions did not create an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion.
Then, the Supreme Court blocked the law while the lawsuit against it continued. The high court voted 5-4, with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining with the four reliable abortion activists on the Supreme Court in blocking the law.
The legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state, ensures that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and bans painful late abortions on fully formed babies. The admitting privileges portion of the law was the portion responsible for closing abortion clinics and, because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions, Judge Lee Yeakel claimed that constituted an undue burden on women.
The coalition of abortion companies, who brought this lawsuit, argues that the effect of the law will be to close many abortion clinics, thus creating an “undue burden” on the right of women to have an abortion.
The new appeal will be heard by the nine justices on March 2, and a ruling in the case is expected by the end of June.