One thing is remarkable about a brief filed this week in the United States Supreme Court by Republican members of the United States Congress asking the court to overturn federal laws that establish a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Of the 207 members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives who have signed it, 181 are men and 16 are women. All but two of the signatories are Republicans.
It’s the dawn of a new decade, but somehow it feels like a throwback to the future – men telling women what women can do with their own bodies.
The brief is one of more than 50 that have been filed in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which is due to be argued in the United States Supreme Court on March 4.
Abortion providers are challenging the constitutionality of Louisiana’s 2014 law, which requires doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients to a nearby hospital. So far, only one doctor in Louisiana has met this requirement. The case went to the country’s High Court when a panel of three judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals broke with the precedent and ruled Louisiana’s law to be constitutional.
The Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas in 2016 by a 5 to 3 vote, but that was before President Donald Trump, who had pledged as a candidate to appoint only “pro-life” judges. ”, Appointed judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. .
Abortion supporters fear that Roe vs. Wade, the law of 1973 authorizing abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy, is threatened.
On behalf of the Trump administration, United States Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed a brief saying the court should dismiss the challenge to Louisiana’s law because abortion providers lack “standing. To bring legal action or, alternatively, to authorize the requirement of admission of privileges.
The question of standing refers to a general rule that individuals can bring an action in federal court to protect their own rights but not the rights of others.
Federal Court Fellows, a group of university professors who specialize in legal issues relating to standing, filed an amicus brief in which they argue that physicians have historically been “third party” in law. because of their close relationship with patients. The group said that the revocation of third party status in the June “Would have broad and perhaps unintended ripple effects across the body of the continuing jurisprudence of this Court.”
An amicus or “friend of the court” brief is intended to help the Court decide thorny issues.
The brief filed by GOP lawmakers argues that cases establishing the right to abortion, including Roe vs. Wade, are confusing, impractical and should be reconsidered.
Democratic members of the US Congress filed a brief earlier this month asking the court to uphold its precedent, overturn the Fifth Circuit ruling and overturn Louisiana’s law. The Democratic brief has 197 signatories, including 45 women.
Various groups weigh
Numerous amicus briefs have been filed by organizations with religious affiliations, including the Christian Legal Society, Priests for Life, The Thomas More Society, Catholics for Choice, and the Institute for Faith and Family.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops maintains that Louisiana law protects the health and safety of women injured as a result of abortion. The Conference argues that physicians who oppose the law “have interests that are totally unfavorable” to their patients.
The American Bar Association asks the Court to adhere to the concept of “stare decisis” or precedent, the “centerpiece of the rule of law … No matter how deep the disagreement with the precedents of this Court is and morally sound, the rule of law requires lower courts to strictly apply the directions of this Court…. “
The National Women’s Law Center and “72 other organizations dedicated to equality and economic opportunity for women” claim that the inability to make reproductive decisions denies women “equal participation in social and economic life. ell-being, job security, participation in the labor market, level of education, health, personal safety and independence. The Center says the impact is felt disproportionately by poor women.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Academy of Nursing, etc. claim that it is “medically unnecessary” for an abortion clinician to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. “Across the country, patients are being harmed by medically unnecessary restrictions placed on abortion practitioners. Laws governing abortion should be evidence-based and supported by valid medical justification, ”the group argues.
A group of nine “African American pro-life organizations” say the majority of abortion clinic patients in Louisiana are black women. The group argues that abortion providers should be required to follow a Louisiana law requiring admitting privileges for physicians in outpatient and outpatient surgery centers. This requirement, they argue, guarantees a higher level of “physician competence”.
The debate before the Court in March will clearly generate great public interest. Unfortunately, the public will not be able to see the proceedings as the court still refuses to allow cameras in its courtroom. www.supremecourt.gov.