SCOTUS announced on Friday that it would hear a challenge to a 2013 Texas law that imposes some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country. It’s the first major abortion case that the Court has taken on since 2007. The decision will be critical because the anti-choice movement has had tremendous success in restricting abortion access on the state level.
The Texas law imposes stringent requirements on abortion clinics, requiring them to meet the building standards required of surgical centers, which often means costly upgrades, and to have doctors with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Other states have similar laws on the books.
The Texas lawmakers’ supposed rationale is to make abortions safer, but both anti- and pro-choice advocates point out that the law—only parts of which have been implemented so far—has effectively restricted access to abortion: 41 clinics were open in 2012, and less than 20 clinics were open as of June, when the Court issued a hold on the law. Were the law to have remained in effect, only 10 clinics would still be open.