SCOTUS Seems Split on Texas Abortion Case

The Supreme Court, faced with its first major abortion case in almost a decade, seems split on the issue, which could mean a 4-4 ruling without Justice Antonin Scalia on the court.

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, revolves around Texas abortion regulations that could limit the number of abortion clinics in the state from 40 to 10 by requiring clinics to meet expensive requirements, basically turning them into mini-hospitals. While the four liberal justices seemed united against the Texas laws, saying that the regulations are unnecessary and restrict women’s access to safe abortions, the other justices are not so sure on the evidence.

Justice Elena Kagan, one of the liberal justices who wants to strike down the Texas law, said that “900,000 women live further than 150 miles from a provider,” according to CNN Politics

Both sides of the case consider Justice Anthony M. Kennedy “pivotal to the outcome,” according to The Washington Post. Justice Kennedy has questioned whether the laws would actually close as many abortion clinics as the evidence says, and has even suggested sending the case back to a lower court. This could delay a finding on the case for as long as a year.

“There are three solid votes to uphold the Texas law, four to strike it down and Justice Kennedy is in the middle,” legal contributor Stephen I. Vladeck told CNN.

This case is one of the most influential ones this year to come to the Supreme Court. According to the The New York Times, there crowds of protesters gathered outside of the Court, representing both pro-choice and pro-life activists. 

The New York Times reported that a decision on the case would likely be reached in June. The decision could set a precedent that would affect women’s access to abortion in every single state, not just in Texas. Women’s health and safe access to abortion is so important—the Supreme Court hopefully won’t make a decision that takes that away.