Four Years After Whole Woman’s Health, Center Awaits U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling on Identical Abortion Law


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June 27 marks four years since the United States Supreme Court issued its historic decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, striking down a Texas law designed to close most of the state’s abortion clinics with medically unnecessary restrictions.

The decision in the 2016 case—brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Texas abortion providers—reaffirmed the constitutional right to access legal abortion and was the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Supreme Court in more than two decades.

The Center now awaits the Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, another case it brought on behalf of abortion providers—this time in neighboring Louisiana. The case is just as significant as the 2016 case.

In June Medical, the Court will rule on a Louisiana law that is identical to the Texas law the Court struck down in Whole Woman's Health. Both the Texas and Louisiana laws—which require providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals—are designed to close clinics and undermine access to abortion care.

“The arguments made clear that we are refighting a legal issue that we have already won,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center, following oral arguments in June Medical in March 2020. “And we’re refighting that legal issue because Louisiana is in open defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Whole Woman’s Health case.”

The Court is expected to soon announce its decision in June Medical—whether it will uphold, or ignore, the precedent it set just four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health.