By Brooke Singman, Bill Mears
Published April 17, 2019
A major battle over abortion access is teeing up at the Supreme Court as a Louisiana abortion clinic filed a new petition with the high court Wednesday seeking a full review on the merits of the state’s law restricting access to the procedure.
The court blocked the law in February pending a full review of the case, June Medical Services v. Gee, but Wednesday’s filing asked the justices to take the next step and decide whether the state law is too restrictive.
In February, the justices decided on a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts serving as the swing vote and siding with liberal colleagues, that they would not allow Louisiana to put the law into effect that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
The Louisiana law is similar to one that the court struck down in Texas in 2016. The justices said at the time the Texas law provided “few, if any, health benefits for women.”
Louisiana abortion providers and a district judge who initially heard the case said that one or maybe two of the state’s three abortion clinics would have to close under the new law, adding that there would be at most two doctors who could meet its requirements.
A federal appeals court upheld the law.
The Hope Medical Group clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, and two doctors whose identities were not revealed said in their appeal that the justices should strike down the law without even holding arguments because the decision so clearly conflicts with the Texas ruling from 2016.
But the Supreme Court typically won't consider a summary reversal of a lower court ruling unless at least six justices are on board. A decision about whether to hear the case should come before the court completes its current term in June. Arguments probably wouldn't take place before late fall.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.