Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts disappointed pro-lifers today (June 29), siding with four Democratic appointed Supreme Court justices to strike down “The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.”
This pro-life Louisiana law, if implemented, would have required standard surgical safeguards for any woman obtaining a surgical abortion at an abortion provider similar to the standard safety requirements at other surgical facilities in Louisiana. It would have also clarified that informed consent protections always apply for a woman obtaining an abortion.
The pro-life Louisiana law was similar to a Texas law struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016, which also would have required basic surgical safeguards to be equally applied to abortion providers.
In striking down Louisiana’s law, Justice Roberts overruled his own conscience and the pro-life dissent he authored four years ago in the Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health.
Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion: “The question today is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case. … The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents. Stare decisis (“to stand by things decided”) is the legal term for fidelity to precedent. … Stare decisis instructs us to treat like cases alike. The result in this case is controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a nearly identical Texas law. The Louisiana law burdens women seeking previability abortions to the same extent as the Texas law, according to factual findings that are not clearly erroneous.”
Justice Roberts is crystal clear in his opinion, he believes that the court’s abortion jurisprudence is not “clearly erroneous.”
As a community that celebrates and values life, we sadly cannot only not count on Justice Roberts to overturn Roe, but he has also evidently shown he is unreliable to protect women in upholding even the most basic safeguards and limits on abortion.
This Supreme Court loss demonstrates the importance of continuing local sidewalk advocacy and pregnancy centers that advocate and truly provide support for women.