SCOTUS Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law

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With guest host Jane Clayson.

As this Supreme Court term draws to a close, we look at the major Texas abortion case decision and the impact of a divided, eight-Justice bench.

Activists demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2016 (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Activists demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2016 (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Supreme Court term ended with the most sweeping decision on abortion rights in a generation. It struck down a Texas law that that imposed tough requirements at clinics. Justices vacated the corruption conviction of Virginia’s former governor and blocked the president on immigration. Looming over everything was the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the political battle to fill the vacancy. This hour On Point, the year at the high court. — Jane Clayson


Emily Bazelon, staff writer for the New York Times Magazine. Co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. Fellow at Yale Law School. (@emilybazelon)

Brian Fitzpatrick, professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Former clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

From The Reading List

New York Times: Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Restrictions — "The Supreme Court on Monday struck down parts of a restrictive Texas law that could have reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state to about 10 from what was once a high of roughly 40. The 5-to-3 decision was the court’s most sweeping statement on abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. It applied a skeptical and exacting version of that decision’s 'undue burden' standard to find that the restrictions in Texas went too far."

SCOTUS Blog: The Court once again makes the “undue-burden” test a referendum on the fact — "Two crucial constitutional matters – women’s interests in autonomy, dignity, and equality and the state’s interest in protecting fetal life and fetal dignity – are always at stake in abortion cases. As the Casey Court framed it, Roe’s trimester framework did not make sense because it undervalued the government’s interest in fetal life, not because it overvalued women’s liberty in making decisions about their own reproductive lives. If balance is at the heart of Casey, the Court’s interpretation today is the only one that makes sense. Only by weighing the harms and virtues of a law for women and unborn children can the Court achieve fulfill the promise of Casey."

Vox: Pro-choice advocates just won the biggest Supreme Court abortion case in decades — "The central constitutional question was: Did the policies put an 'undue burden' on women when they are forced to drive hundreds of miles because their nearest clinic has closed due to regulatory hurdles? The Court found that it did."

This program aired on June 28, 2016.


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