Landmark abortion case being heard in United States
On Wednesday 4th March, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging recently made regulations in the abortion law of Texas. Two regulations were passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013 and were supposed to have come into effect in July 2015:
first that doctors performing abortions must have the ability to admit patients to nearby hospitals;
second that centres providing abortions must be of hospital standard. @
Whilst the first has come into effect easily, the second is being challenged by pro-abortion supporters who argue it would lead to many centres having to close due to high refurbishment costs, leaving the women of Texas with only ten centres through which to access an abortion, thereby making it harder to obtain. With echoes of the recent debate in Northern Ireland, the decision needs to be made as to whether this contravenes a woman’s “constitutional right to an abortion.” @
The recent death in February of a conservative justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, leaves both sides looking to Justice Anthony Kennedy to swing the decision as he has not declared his opinion publicly. The predicted outcome is a 4-4 split, which would mean the law would be implemented, but not set out as a national legal precedent. The ruling is expected to be made in June.