More limitation of states' rights?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Charlie Butts (

A Supreme Court decision on a Texas law regulating abortion clinics could portend a new limitation on states' rights.

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a stay blocking enforcement of the Texas abortion clinic regulation law until it decides whether to review the case. Should the high court decide in the fall to hear the case, it could be the biggest abortion case heard there in more than two decades.

Brad Dacus, founder of the Pacific Justice Institute, explains that all the law does is make abortion clinics operate like other ambulatory surgical centers and have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

Dacus, Brad (PJI)"What it requires – as far as the standard of care, in terms of hospital admissions, etcetera – is what has become a part of other parts of medical services and treatment," he tells OneNewsNow. "So all the state of Texas is basically asking for is that the abortion clinics rise up and meet the level of care that is already expected by other medical facilities and clinics in the state of Texas."

So effectively other surgical centers are carefully regulated while abortion clinics get a pass.

Dacus says why the Supreme Court is taking up the case is a bit puzzling because previous cases have given states the right to pass such regulations.

"This action by the U.S. Supreme Court to hold off on the enforcement of this Texas statute is just another attempt to further regulate and limit the rights of states to enact laws that they feel are necessary for increasing the quality of care for the people in that state," states the attorney.

Emily Horne of Texas Right to Life points out that a previous Supreme Court ruling made it a matter of states' rights.

"I think [over] the last 22 years – [ever since] Planned Parenthood v. Casey – the pro-life [arena] has largely been a state-by-state front," she says. "And so that's why you see so many state legislatures passing these laws – and at some point the Supreme Court hasn't ruled on what state laws are constitutional and which ones are not in quite a while."

So the court could invade state rights, or could empower them with their decision.

In the meantime, Joe Pojman with Texas Alliance for Life says abortions will continue. "The only question is will they be done in a manner that poses a risk to the health and safety of women," he laments. "That's the question that the court will decide."

If the court decides not to take up the case, the law will go into effect.


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