Hundreds of Members of Congress Tell Supreme Court: Overturn Roe v. Wade

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 3, 2020   |   9:53AM   |   Washington, DC

More than 200 federal lawmakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to consider overturning the infamous abortion decision Roe v. Wade.

In an amicus brief signed by 39 U.S. Senators and 168 U.S. House lawmakers, including two Democrats, the brief addresses the upcoming abortion case June Medical Services v. Gee, according to The Hill. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in March.

“Forty-six years after Roe was decided, it remains a radically unsettled precedent,” the lawmakers wrote in an amicus brief.

The case involves a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergencies. The Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law in 2016, arguing it burdened women’s access to abortion. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Louisiana law in 2018, saying it “does not impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women.”

In their brief Thursday, lawmakers said the abortion facility at the center of the case, Hope Medical Group, is not prioritizing women’s safety.

“There is an inherent conflict of interest between abortion providers and their patients,” they wrote. “It is impossible for abortion clinics and doctors to share or represent the interests of their patients when they seek to eliminate the very regulations designed to protect their patients’ health and safety.”

In December, a Fifth Circuit Court ruling indicated that Hope Medical Group may have covered up the sexual abuse of young girls and one of its abortionists may be performing abortions that lead to second-trimester babies being born alive and left to die.

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In November, the Louisiana Department of Justice also announced suspicions about alleged criminal activity that may have happened at the Hope Medical Group. It accused the abortion facility of hiding evidence of criminal and professional misconduct from the U.S. Supreme Court. The state asked the Fifth Circuit to unseal documents in the closely-watched case.

In their brief Thursday, the lawmakers described the “unworkability” of the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion, and the contradictory rulings of lower courts on issues like the Louisiana case.

“Amici respectfully suggest that the court’s struggle—similar to dozens of other courts’ herculean struggles in this area—illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” they wrote.

Two pro-life Democrats signed the brief along with the Republicans: Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, according to the report.

In December, nearly 200 pro-abortion Democrats in Congress submitted an amicus brief in opposition to the law.

Both pro-life and abortion activists will be watching the case closely to see how the conservative-majority Supreme Court will rule. The case will be a good indication of where Chief Justice John Roberts stands on abortion jurisprudence. Earlier this year, Roberts voted with the four liberal justices to block the enforcement of the Louisiana law. However, in 2016, he sided with the conservative justices on the court to uphold a similar Texas law.

If enforced, the Louisiana law could close shoddy abortion facilities that are not prepared to help patients suffering from emergency complications.

Hope Medical Group in Shreveport has a history of failing to meet basic health and safety standards. In 2010, state health department officials said they found “significant health and safety risks to clients” and recommended that its license be revoked; but a judge blocked the state from closing the facility. Hope Medical Group aborts unborn babies up to 16 weeks of pregnancy.

The Louisiana law, which passed in 2014, requires doctors who do abortions to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergency situations. Pro-life Democrat state Rep. Katrina Jackson wrote the legislation.