Potential Supreme Court Involvement in Abortion Cases

The Supreme Court is under increased pressure to delve into choice-related cases, meaning access to reproductive health care options could again be at risk. North Carolina and Mississippi have requested the Court to consider involvement in their appeals and reviving their laws that were previously struck down.

In Mississippi, the case in question focuses on a 2012 law requiring all physicians at reproductive health clinic that offers abortion services to have admitting privileges. Mississippi has one remaining clinic that performs abortions and due to the targeted anti-choice laws, the clinic has been unable to secure the minimum requirements and may be forced to close. (You can read the truth about admitting privilege laws here.) A federal judge blocked the law in July 2012 and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans concurred, however, Mississippi is still fighting, claiming that a woman who needed to access abortion services could cross state lines and have an abortion in Tennessee or Louisiana. The appeals court judge rejected that argument on ground that “Mississippi may not shift its obligations to respect the established constitutional right of its citizens to another state.”

North Carolina is looking to revive an anti-choice mandatory ultrasound law that would require doctors who are performing an abortion to also perform a medically unnecessary ultrasound beforehand and force the patient to witness the developing fetus. This attempt was blocked by a judge’s order and further upheld in a Circuit Court in Richmond on grounds that the government cannot force a doctor to act as “the mouthpiece for the state’s message” and by forcing doctor’s to do this would be “ideological in intent and in kind.”

The Supreme Court’s decision on whether or not to accept a case from Mississippi will come out early this week and the decision to accept North Carolina’s appeal will come out mid-June. It will be interesting to see what the Court decides after distancing themselves from abortion cases for quite some time.

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