U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Louisiana Abortion Case

Abortion is returning to the Supreme Court.

Three years after striking down restrictions on Texas clinics and doctors that had created burdens for thousands of women, the justices agreed Friday to consider a similar Louisiana law in the term beginning Monday.

That puts one of the nation’s most divisive issues front and center as the 2020 presidential election approaches – and at a time when the high court itself is under a microscope following several contentious confirmation battles and rulings. A ruling in favor of Louisiana would give President Donald Trump something to show for his 2016 pledge to appoint “pro-life justices.”

The high court temporarily blocked Louisiana’s abortion limits last February, when Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in a preliminary skirmish. The law therefore is on hold until the court rules, most likely in the spring.

Abortion rights advocates had complained that the law was virtually identical to the one struck down in 2016. But that Texas decision required the vote of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired last year and was replaced by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Roberts dissented in that case, preferring to let the Texas restrictions stand.

Abortion cases are among the most controversial to come before the court, which may be why they don’t get there very often. It took almost 20 years after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide before the justices reinforced both the right to abortion and states’ justification in imposing some restrictions.

Between 2000 and 2007, the court struck down a state law banning late-term abortions, then upheld a similar federal law.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Richard Wolf