WASHINGTON D.C. (NEXSTAR) – One year after Brett Kavanaugh became a Supreme Court justice, the nation’s highest court announced it will hear its first abortion case with Kavanaugh on the bench.
Some believe it could also be the case to overturn Roe v Wade.
“It’s a purposefully more conservative Supreme Court… so that you can raise these types of laws up and slowly, or in this case quickly, chip away at people’s right and access to abortion,” said Tarah Demant, the director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International.
The justices will hear a case against a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.
“This law on its face value doesn’t look like it’s specifically designed to chip away at your right to abortion, but that’s exactly what it’s meant to do,” said Demant.
The abortion provider that sued to block the law argues it would force two of the state’s three abortion clinics to close.
They say it won’t actually reduce abortions, just make them more dangerous.
But conservative groups say these laws keep patients healthy and safe.
“Louisiana’s long and sordid history of dirty and dangerous abortion businesses being shuttered one by one in order to protect women from fly-by-night and dangerous abortionists should tell the Court all it needs to know, both about the legal benefits of this law and the dubious right of abortionists to sue to overturn laws designed to protect their own patients,” Catherine Glenn Foster, the president of Americans United for Life, said in a statement.
An appeals court upheld the Louisiana law even though the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas in 2016.
“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has noted that there are ‘stark differences’ in the facts on the ground in Louisiana compared with Texas. The Hellerstedt decision does not necessarily mean that all admitting privilege laws are unconstitutional. The justices will review the facts specific to the case out of Louisiana. It’s also worth noting that the composition of the Supreme Court also has changed since it heard the Helllerstedt case in 2016,” the Heritage Foundation said in a statement.
With Kavanaugh on the bench, the court is now considered solidly conservative which both sides agree could change the legal outcome.
“What’s happening here is that there’s a group of people in this country who don’t like abortion, and they want to impose their religious beliefs on other people so that they can’t choose to have an abortion if they need one or if they choose to have one,” Demant said. “That’s what’s at stake.”
The Court’s 2019-2020 session begins Monday.
A ruling in the Louisiana case is due by the end of June.