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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Louisaiana’s law requiring admitting privileges for abortion facilities is already impacting other abortion cases working through the legal system, with the Supreme Court ordering Thursday that two lower-court decisions on Indiana pro-life laws be vacated and reconsidered in light of the days-old precedent.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had previously blocked a pair of Indiana pro-life laws, Reuters reports, one of which required that women be offered ultrasounds before going through with abortion and another that required parental notification before minors’ abortions, even when the minor is seeking a judicial bypass.
On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court ordered that both rulings be vacated and returned to the Seventh Circuit “for further consideration in light of June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo,” this week’s 5-4 decision claiming it’s unconstitutional to require abortion facilities to establish admitting privileges with nearby hospitals in the event of life-threatening complications.
How individual justices ruled was not released, but only four justices are required to grant a writ of certiorari, meaning the court’s four Democrat appointees would have been enough to issue the order.
The court also let stand a third ruling, which allowed the abortion provider Whole Woman’s Health a provisional license to open an abortion facility in South Bend, Indiana; and denied pro-life petitions to review “buffer zone” laws keeping pro-life protesters and sidewalk counselors away from abortion facilities in Chicago, Illinois and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The order notes that Justice Clarence Thomas would have heard the Chicago case.
“The justices have now considered the [ultrasound] case at six conferences – three in May and three in October – without ruling on it,” SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe notes.
While Thursday’s orders technically invalidate two rulings that favored the abortion industry, the fact that the Seventh Circuit is being ordered to apply another pro-abortion ruling when they start over indicates the outcome will most likely be the same at best.
Monday’s ruling in the Louisiana case was widely panned by pro-lifers and originalist commentators, and provided conservatives with their latest bullet point against the controversial Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sided with liberals on several key occasions despite being appointed by former Republican president George W. Bush. On the other hand, both of President Donald Trump’s nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the conservative dissenters.