SCOTUS 2020: Should abortion businesses speak for women?

Nikolas Nikas & Dorinda Bordlee
By Nikolas Nikas & Dorinda Bordlee January 2, 2020 21:55
SCOTUS 2020: Should abortion businesses speak for women?

Over 40 legal and medical organizations file amicus briefs in support of Louisiana’s pro-woman pro-life law, including the U.S. Department of Justice.

January 2, 2020. For Immediate Release. Louisiana is set to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 4, 2020 that abortion businesses should no longer be presumed to have “third-party standing” — a legal concept by which abortion providers seek to assert the purported constitutional rights of women in order to strike down reasonable health and safety regulations that protect the very women they claim to represent.

Today, over 30 legal and medical organizations filed amicus “friend of the court” briefs in support of Louisiana’s law requiring abortion providers to have “hospital admitting privileges” — the ability to admit a woman into a nearby hospital in the event that she experiences one of the known complications of abortion such as uterine puncture, cervical tear or uncontrolled blood loss.

In 2014, Louisiana Act 620 was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support based on the two purposes discussed by the bill author Rep. Katrina Jackson, a member of the state Democrat party and leader within the state’s black caucus. First, the safety measure makes it such that hospitals can vet the background of abortion providers to protect women from incompetent and dangerous physicians. Second, it promotes continuity of care such that the physician who unintentionally injures a woman in the course of an abortion can quickly provide care at a local hospital.

Yet, a Louisiana abortion clinic and two of its abortion providers immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to strike down the regulation after claiming that they were unable to secure this ordinary safety measure. The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit upheld the law, finding, among other things, that the Louisiana law had a rational purpose of protecting women’s health, and further finding that the plaintiff abortion providers had not made a good faith effort to obtain hospital privileges.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of the merits of the Louisiana law, but also granted the request of Louisiana to review the prior question of whether abortion businesses should be able to speak for hypothetical women that might get abortions when no actual woman had filed suit to claim the law somehow caused her injury.

As explained by Bioethics Defense Fund president Nikolas T. Nikas, “if the Court holds that abortion businesses can no longer be presumed to have standing to speak on behalf of women, it is likely that a large amount of challenges to pro-woman pro-life laws would not be filed in court.”

BDF attorney Dorinda Bordlee added, “Absent third-party standing lawsuits, States would be able to take reasonable measures to protect women’s health and provide them with information to empower them to choose life. No abortion business with a conflicting profit motive should be able to speak for women who deserve to have the ordinary safety standards that apply to other surgeries.”

Between December 26, 2019 and January 2, 2020, over 40 amicus briefs were filed in support of the Louisiana merits brief.

Oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court is set for March 4, 2020. The case will be argued by Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill from the Office of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

* AG Press Release: Louisiana Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Pro-Woman Admitting Privileges Law

* Summary of Amicus Briefs in Support of Louisiana. (In progress).

Nikolas Nikas & Dorinda Bordlee
By Nikolas Nikas & Dorinda Bordlee January 2, 2020 21:55