Supreme Court declines to hear appeal on Texas abortion laws

Written by Staff Writer by Staff Writer by Staff Writer

(CNN) — In a huge blow to Texas women’s right to abortions, the US Supreme Court on Friday refused to hear an appeal from a law that requires abortion clinics to meet the same surgical center standards as other medical centers.

The case involved Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which has 45 clinics serving 1.8 million patients in Texas and wants to continue to perform abortions at clinics that meet the stricter standards.

The ruling comes a year after Planned Parenthood lost an earlier case related to the Texas regulations that prevented the organization’s clinics from meeting the requirements, forcing them to close. In January, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law didn’t impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Lower courts initially sided with Planned Parenthood, but then the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The latest move by the high court would not directly impact the number of clinics serving women in Texas, but it would make it harder for clinics to continue providing abortions.

Planned Parenthood advocates felt the high court had an opportunity to help lift up women’s health while supporting access to reproductive healthcare, and should have heard the case.

“The Supreme Court could have made a historic decision that would have restored access to legal abortions in the 50 states, and completely overturned Texas’s restrictive abortion law. We are incredibly disappointed that we could not convince the Court to take that path, but the fact remains that women across the country live in desperate situations because lawmakers have refused to follow the Constitution and preserve access to legal abortion,” Tara Borelli, senior director of public policy and communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

“Today, we heard from countless women living in states with dire abortion access – particularly those seeking the most basic care – while politicians sitting in their lap have focused on giving voice to the tiny handful of extremists whose ideological agenda is to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion.”

She added, “Today’s ruling keeps abortion inaccessible in Texas – and most likely in virtually every state, because legislators are as focused on rolling back reproductive freedom as ever. However, it’s clear that the Constitution and the courts are on the side of abortion rights.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the court upheld the “outdated and medically unnecessary regulations” that protect women’s health.

“Texans have made it clear that they do not want abortion providers in their community who don’t abide by the same high standards of care as every other hospital or surgical center,” Paxton said in a statement. “We will continue to protect life and the safety of women, even as the Supreme Court is considering expanding abortion access in other states.”

CNN reached out to the Supreme Court about why the justices did not hear the case Friday and will have more information to share soon.

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