On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a stay preventing two requirements of House Bill 2, the Pro-Life Omnibus Bill of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session, from going into effect on July 1 as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled earlier in the month. The Fifth Circuit ruled on June 8 that the ambulatory surgical center (ASC) and the admitting privileges requirements of the Pro-Life law are constitutional and can therefore be enforced.
However, the abortion industry predictably appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), which does not have time this regular session to decide whether they would consider or deny the request to hear arguments on HB 2. The justices ruled that the provisions in question will effectively remain on-hold and unenforced until the abortion businesses file a full appeal of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and until the justices return from summer recess in September. Monday’s unfortunate decision came down on a 5-4 margin, and was opposed by Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts. The majority was comprised of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.
Upon their return in September, the justices will either agree to hear the abortion industry’s arguments against HB 2 or deny the request. If the request is denied, HB 2 will go into effect immediately, and the abortion industry will have exhausted all legal resources to further stall or overturn the law. However, if SCOTUS agrees to hear the case, the stay would most likely not be lifted until the court’s final opinion was issued.
According to the independent SCOTUSblog, the decision to stay HB 2 until September renders a hearing of HB 2 “all but certain.” Although Texas Right to Life is disappointed that for at least three more months the abortion industry will be allowed to dodge higher medical standards in order to save money, a SCOTUS review of House Bill 2 could produce a significant Pro-Life victory. Such a hearing would undoubtedly result in clarification of the vague notion of “undue burden” established by SCOTUS in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Since Casey, abortion proponents aiming at destroying every significant piece of Pro-Life legislation have gratuitously manipulated the elusiveness of the undue burden clause, and HB 2 was not immune to these tactics.
The outcome of today’s SCOTUS ruling is that dangerous, substandard abortion mills will be allowed to remain open as Texas awaits definitive action from the Supreme Court. Every day that HB 2 provisions are blocked, Texas women and preborn children are subjected to the abortion industry’s profit-driven tactics, which have failed time and again to acknowledge their value.