In a new legal brief filed with the Supreme Court, 207 members of Congress have asked the court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Roe was decided in 1973 and legalized abortion nationwide. These two cases together lay at the foundation of abortion jurisprudence in the United States.
The brief includes signatures from 39 Senators and 168 members of the House of Representatives on behalf of 38 states.
The members of Congress filed the brief in support of a Louisiana law in the upcoming case June Medical Services v. Gee. This case involves a Louisiana statute which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital close by so that women can receive prompt care if something should go wrong during an abortion. This also helps ensure the medical competence of abortionists since hospitals check medical credentials, and license and malpractice history prior to granting admitting privileges.
The brief makes two main arguments as to why the court should consider overruling Roe. First, it argues that the court has been inconsistent in its approach to abortion laws. In some cases, like Roe, the court has implied that abortion is a woman’s fundamental constitutional right. In others, like Casey, the court “disavowed” abortion as a fundamental right, instead adopting the standard that states could not pass laws that posed an “undue burden” to a woman seeking an abortion.
Second, the brief argues that the court has sparked confusion by frequently backtracking on previous abortion decisions. For example, in the 2000 case Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court struck down limits on partial-birth abortion. But in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld a nationwide ban on partial-birth abortion.
The brief concludes by contending, “Casey clearly did not settle the abortion issue, and it is time for the court to take it up again.”
In a statement announcing the brief, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said, “Innocent life must be protected at every state, and I urge the Supreme Court to uphold this law which ensures the health and safety regulations meant to protect Louisianans from the very abortionists who don’t want high standards.”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on March 4 with a decision expected before the close of the court’s term at the end of June.
In all likelihood, the Supreme Court will decide the case on a narrow basis without disturbing the underlying abortion jurisprudence laid down in Roe and Casey.
Please be in prayer that the court will decide to uphold Louisiana’s common-sense law, even if it doesn’t yet decide to overrule Roe.
We’re watching this case closely and will provided you with timely, relevant updates as they come in.
The case is June Medical Services v. Gee
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