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The Supreme Court may soon weigh in on the battle over abortion

Abortion rights and anti-abortion activists protest in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

WASHINGTON - The battle lines over abortion have been drawn for decades, but may soon be redefined.

A Louisiana law that passed in 2014 and set to take effect this week would require doctors who work at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals.

Experts say the law would severely limit the number of doctors who could perform abortions. The Supreme Court blocked the law temporarily but said it will give further guidance this Thursday, despite striking down a very similar law in Texas in June of 2016.

“It would really be a clear signal that the Supreme Court is going to allow states to be highly restrictive in women’s access to the right to choose,” said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University Law Professor and Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

In an interview Monday, Gostin said he doesn’t see the High Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, overturning Roe.v. Wade but he believes this will signal to states they can be more aggressive in their own abortion laws. He said he worries it will have a widespread lasting impact.

“What that means is if you’re a well-off woman no matter where you live you’ll just go to that state where you can get an abortion," he said, adding, "If you’re a poor woman and you’re in a state that is not very friendly to reproductive rights you’re in a lot of trouble."

On the other hand, Gostin says more liberal states may continue pushing for laws that increase access and expand abortion rights, as we’ve already seen in New York and Virginia, allowing abortions for any reason up to 24 weeks, and up to birth, in order to protect the mother's life.

Experts believe this debate and new state laws are a direct result of the new make-up of the Supreme Court- namely the addition of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – both nominated by a Republican President, Donald J. Trump.


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