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The Supreme Court is about to hear its first case since the sudden passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. The topic: abortion “safety” and access in Texas.
The liberal wing of the Supreme Court on Wednesday was sharply critical of a Texas law requiring that doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and clinics upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards.
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller faced a sustained attack from the three women justices on the bench, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer who questioned him about the impact the law would have on poor women living far from the remaining clinics, the medical necessity of the law, the general low risk of the abortion procedure. Justice Elena Kagan, for instance, wondered why higher risk procedures such as colonoscopies didn’t require similar upgrades.
Without Scalia on the bench, there is a chance that the Supreme Court could rule a split decision, 4-4.
If that’s the case, the Texas law is upheld but the case ruling does not set any type of national precedent. In other words, the case could be argued again after Scalia’s replacement is sworn in.
If the Texas law is upheld, it could drastically reduce the amount of abortion clinics in the state.