Over the past few decades, few Supreme Court decisions have polarized the country in the manner that Roe versus Wade has. Largely used as the benchmark to define abortion regulations in the United States, this case has been the legal standard since the decision first went into effect. Now, the Supreme Court is getting set to hear oral arguments in a case that could challenge Roe versus Wade.
In June Medical Services vs. Gee, this case might be the vehicle that conservative judges need to remove the right of a woman to access abortion services. This case focuses on a law that was passed in the state of LA back in 2014. This law requires any medical doctor performing abortion services to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This means that the medical doctor must be contracted with a hospital to admit his or her patients to inpatient beds for overnight stays. On the other hand, advocates for birth control access and abortion rights say that this law doesn’t serve any purpose. Not everyone who receives an abortion is going to have to spend the night in a local hospital. Instead, they claim that these laws are simply another way for conservatives to strip women of birth control and abortion rights.
Of note, the Supreme Court did strike down a law in Texas that was similar to the one LA currently has on the books; however, in 2016, the Supreme Court was not nearly as conservative as it is today. A couple of new justices have been appointed to the bench since 2016, shifting the balance of the court in the favor of conservatives. Therefore, many people feel that this decision might land in favor of the “right to life” group. This decision could shape birth control and abortion services for decades to come and has many people on edge.
Roe versus Wade was passed back in 1973. This case established the right of American women to access abortion services. This decision is still popular today, with a majority of Republicans still supporting it; however, the opinion of the public may not represent the feelings of Republicans in Congress. This gives many people reason to pause.
There are already numerous barriers to birth control and abortion services in the United States. Planned Parenthood clinics have been closing all over the country, making it even harder for underserved populations to access birth control services. If this Supreme Court decision deals another blow to reproductive health, it would represent a significant setback for activists who have worked so hard to increase healthcare access to underserved populations.