The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a 2013 Texas law that had put rigid restrictions on abortion clinics.
In a 5-3 ruling, the High Court said the law, which had mandated that abortion clinics meet the medical standards of outpatient surgical centers, effectively constituted an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so.”
The law would have required abortion clinics in Texas to spend millions of dollars in upgades and required doctors to obtain surgical privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics.
The practical effect would have been the likely closure of 35 of the state’s 40 abortion clinics, leaving women in wide swaths of the state without access to abortion services.