March 2, 2016
Breyer Beware: Justices Debate Abortion Case

Breyer Beware: Justices Debate Abortion Case

Guessing how the nation's highest court will rule in any case is a cottage industry. But because of the stakes involved, today's Supreme Court hearing on abortion center regulations invites even more speculation than usual. The case under review, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, is the most important case regarding abortion to be argued before the Court in many years. As the Director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, noted recently in The Daily Signal, "The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic sanitary and mobility standards within abortion centers and then requiring government oversight of them is plain commonsense."

Arina was in the Court today, as was our Senior Fellow for Legal Studies, Cathy Ruse, J.D., former Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee on the Constitution. Both observed that Justice Samuel Alito went through several of the specific regulations under consideration, including requiring that a registered nurse with CPR certification be on staff and corridors that could accommodate a stretcher. He also said that when Whole Woman's Health facilities were inspected they found holes where rats could come in and sanitary problems. He suggested that many of these requirements were "basic safety" measures.

Nationally, up to "26,500 women experienced complications and approximately 3,180 required hospitalization in 2011" for first trimester abortions alone. And Federal Judge Edith Jones, in her opinion for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on this case, commented that "Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion."

Justice Stephen Breyer called abortion "a procedure that is going to cure a problem." Not for the unborn child, Mr. Justice -- for her, abortion is the end of her life. That's hardly a solution anyone should support. And it's not a cure for her mother, either. Preying upon vulnerable women is the abortion industry's stock-in-trade, and leaves a moral vacuum in the heart of those who allow their babies to be killed, as well as placing them at serious medical risk. Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller mentioned the brief FRC filed with our friends at the American Center for Law and Justice in his remarks; our brief emphasizes that abortion is anything but a safe procedure for women, and we are grateful for SG Keller's citation.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, on two occasions, raised the prospect of remanding the case -- sending it back to a lower court so that more evidence could be gathered. This could signal a way for the court to avoid ruling on the merits of the case at this time. A 4-4 ruling would result in the Texas law being upheld and thus protecting women.

Again, we don't know how, especially in the wake of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's demise, the Court will rule in this critical case. We do know that the Ruler of nations is also the Lord of life. Let's pray He will guide the justices as they deliberate and that this case will move our country further in the direction of protecting the health and safety of both mothers and their unborn children.

For more of what's at stake with Texas's abortion case, check out Arina's piece in the Daily Signal here.