December 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to review a Louisiana law concerning medical standards for abortion facilities, interested parties have filed nearly 30 amicus briefs in hopes of influencing a case that could have far larger ramifications nationwide.
In March, the nation’s highest court will hear arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which concerns Louisiana’s requirement that abortion centers make arrangements for admitting women to nearby hospitals in cases of life-threatening complications. The abortion industry’s attorneys argue the law is no different from the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt; pro-lifers argue that not only was Hellerstedt wrongly decided, but that the Louisiana law is different from the Texas one.
A majority of the amicus briefs – arguments from groups who aren’t parties to a dispute but assert an interest in the outcome – come from supporters of abortion-on-demand who want to see the court strike down the Louisiana law, CBS News reported.
One, from supposedly-nonpartisan medical organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), argues that “laws regulating abortion should be evidence-based and supported by a valid medical justification,” and “laws requiring clinicians who provide abortions to have local admitting privileges are neither.”
Contrary to that assertion, however, 32 nonpartisan medical associations – including the Federation of State Medical Boards and National Committee for Quality Assurance, and covering fields from surgery and anesthesiology to dermatology and radiology – affirmed in 2013 that admitting privileges are a legitimate medical standard.
Further, despite the media’s framing, both the AMA and the ACOG have a history of left-wing bias on life issues. The AMA’s political moves over the past several years include declining to renew its formal opposition to doctor-assisted suicide, endorsing human cloning, defending taxpayer funding for abortion providers, and condemning bans on dismemberment abortion procedures as “unsafe” and “unwarranted.”
The ACOG, meanwhile, is the organization that infamously redefined “conception” as starting with implantation rather than fertilization not for scientific accuracy but to make abortifacient birth control more culturally palatable. In recent years, it has opposed the conscience rights of health workers who resist participating in abortions, promoted abortion lobby talking points such as the claim that lay terminology such as “late-term abortion” is somehow “medically inaccurate,” and that direct abortion can be “medically necessary” to save a mother’s life.
Another amicus brief, backed by more than 350 post-abortive attorneys, law professors, and other legal professionals, credits abortion with enabling them to attend law school and pursue legal careers. “They would not have been able to realize their personal and/or professional goals were it not for their ability to control their reproductive lives,” it argues.
Among the supporters of that brief is an unnamed “senior attorney with the Department of Justice,” who “joins the brief anonymously on behalf of herself and all the other lawyers working in the highest echelons of government who have had abortions.”
On the other side of the issue, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri also filed an amicus brief, which argues that invalidating the Louisiana law would violate the “100-percent rule,” which is meant to ensure that “courts enjoin only unlawful enforcements, not nullify entire statutes that can be enforced lawfully” (meaning that a law mustn’t be fully struck down unless every instance of enforcing it is inherently unconstitutional).
“Departing so drastically from the 100-percent rule would violate separation of powers,” Hawley’s brief argues. “Legislatures, not courts, have exclusive authority to ‘prescribe general rules.’ The 100-percent rule safeguards that authority by limiting injunctions to unlawful enforcement actions. In contrast, when a court enjoins all enforcements, including indisputably lawful enforcements, the court performs ‘quintessentially legislative work’ by altering the rights for people who have no legal claim. The more a facial challenge departs from the 100-percent rule, the more courts seize legislative power.”
A ruling is likely to be handed down during the already-contentious 2020 election year, in which abortion and judicial nominations will be major issues for both President Donald Trump and his Democrat opponent.
The case is likely to at the very least impact the Hellerstedt precedent, which has been used to invalidate a broad range of modest abortion regulations as “undue burdens” on women. It’s an open question whether a majority would take the opportunity to make a broader determination as to the underlying legitimacy of Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which force all 50 states to permit most abortions.