What 6-3 Supreme Court ruling on Texas abortion law means

Supreme Court votes 6-3 to block texas abortion clinic regulationsAs most know by now, the U.S. SUPREME COURT ruled by a lopsided 6-3 majority on October 14 that Texas could not enforce that part of its 2013 omnibus pro-life law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, this while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals makes its decision on the case.

SCOTUS also blocked Texas from forcing abortionists at clinics in McAllen and El Paso to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinics, also pending the 5th Circuit’s final decision. All other Texas abortionists must meet this requirement.

Otherwise, other prongs of the far-reaching statute are being enforced, and the contended issues are still in play. Most pro-lifers did not expect Chief Justice Roberts to side with the liberals, and many were surprised to see Justice Kennedy do the same.

Before I get to analysis of the votes, I’d like to untangle the chain of events, which has involved two lawsuits and many, many court decisions.

Passage of bill: June 18, 2013

Wendy Davis filibuster HB2 anti-abortion billHB 2 was signed into law three weeks after state Senator Wendy Davis’s (pictured right) infamous filibuster trying to block it. It includes:

  1. a ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, at which point it is known preborn babies feel pain
  2. a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic
  3. a requirement that the RU-486 chemical abortion regimen follow protocol approved by either the FDA or American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  4. a requirement that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers

Planned Parenthood v Abbott: Sept-Oct 2013

On September 27, 2013, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to block two of the first three parts of HB 2 before they were scheduled to take effect on October 29, 2013: the admitting privileges and RU-486 requirements.

I’m going to skip the details and get to the bottom line, which is that as of today Planned Parenthood has failed.

The only recourse Planned Parenthood now has is to ask SCOTUS to reverse the decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and I explained on October 7 why it would be risky for the abortion industry to ask SCOTUS to hear a case on RU-486.

The ball is in Planned Parenthood’s court, while meanwhile the RU-486 requirement is currently in effect as well as the admitting privileges requirement for all abortion clinics save two, as described below.

Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey: Apr 2014-present

On April 3, 2014, five independent abortion clinics sued to block the fourth component of HB2 from taking effect on September 1, 2014: the ASC requirement. They also sued to block the admitting privileges requirement at two outlying facilities in McAllen and El Paso. abbott-greg_jpg_800x1000_q100

After a lower court judge intervened on behalf of the abortion industry, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (pictured left) asked the 5th Circuit to let the newly questioned parts of HB2 take effect while the state appealed.

On October 2, a 5th Circuit of three judges agreed to Abbott’s request.

On October 3, 13 of the remaining 21 abortion clinics in Texas closed.

The clinics filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to block enforcement while they appealed to the full 5th Circuit.

On October 14, the Supreme Court agreed in a 6-3 decision.

All this means is clinics not up to ASC standards can remain open while their case is appealed, and abortionists in McAllen and El Paso can continue to abort without admitting privileges during the appeal process.

So here are the parts of HB2 in effect and not in effect at present. All parts of the law in italics or struck are in limbo. All other parts of the law are being enforced:

  1. a ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, at which point it is known preborn babies feel pain
  2. a requirement that abortionists must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic – except in McAllen and El Paso
  3. a requirement that the RU-486 chemical abortion regimen follow protocol approved by either the FDA or ACOG
  4. a requirement that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers

 What does the 6-3 Supreme Court split mean? 

Reading tea leaves on Supreme Court decision on TX anti-abortion lawThere are two schools of thought when trying to read the tea leaves for the day this case may return to the Supreme Court.

The following opinion is being heard quite a bit among DC pro-lifers who study and work with the Supreme Court:

There is confidence SCOTUS will hear either this case soon or a case regarding regulation of RU-486.

Again, the 6-3 ruling did not overturn the parts of the Texas law in question. It simply prevented them from taking effect while the 5th Circuit debates the constitutionality of the law.

Kennedy, being the swing vote, likely did not want to prejudice himself by tipping his hand, thinking he is going to hear this case.

Kennedy joining with the liberals made the tally 5-3.

Since the decision was already 5-3, there was nothing for Roberts to gain by making it 5-4. Roberts is probably playing politics and wanting to keep dialogue open with the liberals by siding with them.

The other school of thought is more cynical. Fr. Ben Johnson of LifeSiteNews.com expresses it well in an email statement: john-roberts-smile-ap

Justice Roberts (pictured left) has cast some praiseworthy votes on issues affecting the pro-life movement. However, his vote suspending enforcement of HB2 allows subpar abortion facilities to go back into the business of preying on women and killing unborn children – and it makes Roberts partially responsible for their actions until the law is upheld.

Roberts is the author of an incomprehensible ruling upholding Obamacare, a facially unconstitutional bill that some believe represents the greatest expansion of abortion funding in U.S. history. And he has left conservative justices twisting as he voted against them on procedural issues.

I would like to believe when the final vote on HB2 comes that Justice Roberts will be inclined to follow the better angels of his nature and uphold the inherent dignity of life at every stage of development.

However, I could see the liberal bloc convincing him to ignore the underlying issues and rule on the law’s effect, as he did in McCullen v. Coakley. Although a win, that ruling simply said the anti-free speech zone around Massachusetts abortion facilities was too large.

The court’s liberals would be content to have a similar decision on HB2  - that eliminating abortion facilities for hundreds of miles places an “undue burden” on women’s “right” to an abortion under Planned Parenthood v. Casey - in the process upholding bad precedent. I hope everyone will pray for Justice Roberts’ impending decision.

One final thought. Notice the abortion industry has not yet touched the 20-week ban in a lawsuit. There isn’t any other explanation than it expects the 5th Circuit would uphold the ban, creating a circuit court split with the 9th Circuit, which struck down Arizona’s 20-week ban in 2013. In the event of a circuit split, SCOTUS would be likely to hear the merits of the case, which the industry likely fears. How do you think a Supreme Court vote would go?

[Many thanks to Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life with her help on this post!]

Pro-life daily vid: OH students’ eyes opened to pro-life position

by Kelli

Three Northland High School students recently interacted with a member of Created Equal at one of their outreaches in Ohio, providing them with more of a pro-life education than they bargained for.

One young woman first looked at the photos displayed on the group’s literature and said of abortion, “A girl’s gotta do what they gotta do.” After some respectful conversation, watch what happens:

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Email dailyvid@jillstanek.com with your video suggestions.

Pro-choice dilemma: Are we alienating the disabled?

accessibleby Carder

It’s true that, for political reasons, we can’t afford for those on the other side to be the only ones talking about this issue. But I’ll go a step further: If we in the pro-choice movement don’t start paying serious attention to the ways in which our own practices contribute to the dehumanization of people with disabilities, we can’t claim to operate under a reproductive justice framework at all.

~ Lenzi Sheible, a pro-choice advocate who is honestly and truly concerned that people with disabilities will feel alienated by the pro-choice rhetoric, RH Reality Check, October 17

Sunday Word: “Had you listened to my commands, your children’s names would not be cut off”

art12-f1

If only you had listened to my commands! Your peace would be like a river that never runs dry. Your righteousness would be like waves on the sea.

Your descendants would be like sand. Your children would be like its grains. Their names would not be cut off or wiped out in my presence.

~ Isaiah 48:18-19, God’s Word translation

Stanek Sunday funnies 10-19-14

Good morning, and Happy Sunday! Here were my top five favorite political cartoons this week. Be sure to vote for your fav in the poll at the bottom of this post!

by Tom Toles at GoComics.com, about the news that Apple and Facebook are offering a new benefit for women: egg freezing…
tt141016
 by Glenn McCoy at Townhall.com

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Pro-life photos of the week: Pro-choice expressions at a pro-life rally

This week Lila Rose and Live Action sponsored a rally in front of the Planned Parenthood located two blocks from the White House.

At one point an unidentified pro-abortion man heckled Rose by standing at the podium alongside her yelling, “Stop interfering with women’s healthcare decisions!” Click all photos to enlarge…

Live-Action-Press-Conference-Grae-Stafford-DailyCaller-1-e1413312076941 (1)

A female deathscort gave Rose the stink eye…

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Stanek weekend Q: Thoughts on love letter aborting mother wrote to her “Little Thing”?

5b31735c5928d58177df3883e4df1a01Cosmopolitan published a love letter an aborting mother wrote to the baby she was planning to abort October 17, who she called “Little Thing.” So this baby has likely now been suctioned and chopped to little pieces.

The mother made her ghastly intent sound poetic, which Cosmo said proved aborting mothers aren’t “emotionless robots who have not given any thought to the decision they are making.”

Rather, I wanted to vomit. Aside from melodic rubbish, the mother wrote a lot that didn’t make sense, such as “I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.”

Where, in heaven? She thinks God will reward her for killing her baby by letting them cosmically float together again in the afterlife, where the Mom can live in blissful eternity with the child she murdered?

Or perhaps she believes in reincarnation, imagining her aborted baby would want to return to her savage uterus for a do-over. Does she think she deserves this reward?

I don’t know. In my mind this letter was a psychotic, dissociated, very disturbing mess wrapped in a pretty bow. What do you see?

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Planned Parenthood CEO: My abortion wasn’t a “difficult decision”

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards had an abortion

I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me and my husband, and it wasn’t a difficult decision.

~ Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, Elle, October 16

[Photo via Elle]

Pro-life blog buzz 10-17-14

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • Pro-Life Action League says now, more than ever, we need to use the images of abortion victims in pro-life outreach:

    Our opponents want the average person to think of abortion not just as something to be tolerated, but as something good. Needless to say, they definitely don’t want people to think about the unborn babies who are victimized by abortion. Indeed, they don’t want people to think abortion has any victims in the first place.Which is precisely why we must continue to show the pictures of abortion victims in the public square, for nothing elicits sympathy like pictures of the victims of injustice.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Pro-life vid: Media complains pro-life sign at abortion clinic “near a school”

by Kelli

Another display featuring abortion victims is drawing fire, this time in Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of the infamous Southwestern Womens Options late-term abortion clinic.

While this local news report from KRQE.com seems to vilify pro-lifers for placing a graphic display near an elementary school, if you closely watch the video, you’ll see that the sign is directly in front of the abortion clinic.

Pro-lifer Tara Shaver of Protest ABQ responds to parents’ concerns in the video by saying, “[School children are] not our targeted audience. I would think that a more valid concern would be what’s actually happening so near to a school.”

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What do you think? Is this a valid concern about school children’s vulnerable eyes, or is the media trying to trash pro-lifers by telling half-truths about a sign that’s been in this location for two years?

Email dailyvid@jillstanek.com with your video suggestions.

[HT: Life Dynamics]

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Who Is Jill Stanek?

Jill Stanek is a nurse turned speaker, columnist and blogger, a national figure in the effort to protect both preborn and postborn innocent human life.

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What the Media says »

Kristan_Hawkins_Executive_Director_of_Students_for_Life_of_America_CNA_US_Catholic_News_3_13_12by Kelli

Where are the women’s rights groups, like Planned Parenthood, that supposedly should be outraged that women have to go to subpar abortion facilities for care? Abortion advocates claim to want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.” If they want it to be safe, why would they oppose a common sense regulation that seeks to protect women from dangerous doctors like Kermit Gosnell?…

The Kermit Gosnell trial was a grim reminder of what happens when political correctness trumps common sense health safety standards for women. There is no right to an unsafe abortion and for abortion advocates to promote a lower standard of care for women just to ensure the sacred cow of abortion remains intact, is morally indefensible.

The fight in Texas is not over yet and there are still many more hurdles to overcome to ensure that the abortion industry adheres to the same standards as any other outpatient facility, but, in the meantime, supposed women’s rights groups and abortion advocates should not get a free pass to cheer the Supreme Court ruling while calling common sense regulations “burdensome” for abortion facilities all in the name of “access.”

~ Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins (pictured), The Blaze, October 20

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