Court Hears Arguments in Texas Case 
LARTL Present for Hearing and Rally 
LARTL Executive Director Benjamin Clapper speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a pivotal hearing today before a packed courtroom, eight U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments from both the Center for Reproductive Rights and the state of Texas in the case Whole Women's Health vs. Hellerstedt. LARTL Associate Director Ryan Verret and I were able to attend the hearing and hear the arguments first hand.  We are grateful to Justice Scalia for granting Ryan two tickets to the hearing just three days before his unfortunate passing.

Our friend, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, spoke on behalf of life outside the court.
Today's hearing, and the forthcoming decision, is pivotal to the future of Texas and Louisiana's right to protect the health and safety of women through common-sense abortion regulations. The people of a state, and their elected legislators, must retain the
right to ensure the continuity of care between abortion facilities intent on selling abortion and hospitals in case of emergency. The abortion industry cannot exist as an exception from health standards. 
Here are some thoughts on the hearing today: 
  • It seemed that Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan were committed to returning our nation to the 1970s and 1980s when states were prohibited from enacting any basic health regulations on abortion. Instead of analyzing the legal facts before them, these justices were looking to replace the judgments of the people of Texas and their duly-elected legislators with an abortion-on-demand mandate.

    Their lengthy and mostly legally irrelevant questions forced Texas' attorney to defend points that were germane to testimony in a state legislative hearing, not a Supreme Court hearing. They quickly brushed aside any concern Texas might have had about safeguarding against Gosnell-style facilities. Justice Ginsburg repeatedly pushed the pro-abortion mantra that "abortion is safer than childbirth."  
  • Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito questioned the abortion plantiffs at length about whether they had presented sufficient evidence to show that the law constituted an "undue burden." Justice Alito twice referred to the similar case in Louisiana, indicating the outcome of this case will likely directly impact Louisiana's case.
  • Unfortunately, Justice Thomas remained silent after he asked questions for the first time in 10 years during another hearing on Monday.
  • Justice Kennedy asked only a handful of questions, and he seemed to be grappling with the question of whether the Texas law constituted an undue burden or not on access to abortion in Texas. The future of the case will almost certainly rest in is hands. If he sides with Texas, a 4-4 decision is anticipated, meaning the 5th Circuit precedent stands and the Texas law (and likely by extension the Louisiana law) will remain in effect. If he sides with the abortion attorneys and the four other justices, the Texas law could be struck down in part or in whole, producing a disastrous precedent against a state's right to enact common-sense health standards on abortion facilities and physicians.
  • The absence of Justice Scalia cannot be understated as his presence, combined with a Justice Kennedy vote with Texas, would have led to strong precedent in favor of a state's rights. His presence was missed today.
  • Outside the Supreme Court there were many pro-life and pro-abortion people participating in simultaneous rallies that often became contentious as pro-abortion people would attempt to barge into the pro-life event and cause disruption. Our friend, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, attended and spoke to the audience along with many other pro-life leaders. I had the privilege to speak as well. Thanks to our friends at Students for Life of America for putting the event together.
While it is difficult to predict the outcome, we remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will follow the logic of the 5th Circuit and allow Louisiana and Texas to protect both women and unborn children. The decision will likely come in June.  Please pray for an positive decision! 

For a Pro-Life Louisiana,

Benjamin Clapper
Executive Director 
Louisiana Right to Life

P.S. Louisiana attorneys have just filed with the U.S. Supreme Court their response brief to the abortion attorney's appeal to have the court halt the enforcement of the Louisiana admitting privilege law.  We should hear a decision from the justices later this week or early next week!  Stay tuned! 
Louisiana Right to Life    1.866.463.5433    @LARightToLife