In 2013 both Texas and North Dakota (among other states) passed laws requiring that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Texas version of the law in a 5-3 decision that probably wouldn’t have been any different had conservative Justice Antonin Scalia been on the court.
You can read the full ruling here, but essentially the majority on the court bought into the idea that the motivation of Texas lawmakers in passing this law wasn’t the safety of the mothers getting abortions, or the safety of the children who sometimes survive those abortions, but rather inhibiting abortions in general. The courts in the passed have upheld state regulations on abortions when a convincing case has been made that the regulations are truly about safety and not just restricting abortions.
The justices clearly didn’t feel that Texas made its case in this one.
What does this mean for North Dakota? Our iteration of this law wasn’t directly on the chopping block, though I suppose it’s ripe for challenge now. I’m guessing the pro-abortion folks will challenge, if only to run up another legal bill for the state that can become a talking point for liberal Democrats looking to score points.
But in Texas abortion providers argued that the law would shut down hundreds of clinics around the state. Here in North Dakota a lawsuit over our law was settled once the state’s only abortion clinic got admitting privileges at Sanford Health. The Center for Reproductive Health lost its standing in that suit because the abortion clinic in Fargo it was representing came into compliance with the law.
I’m not sure of the abortion clinic would now have to fall out of compliance with the law to give itself standing to challenge. If it did pull of that maneuver it still might be tough to argue in court that a law the clinic has been complying with is suddenly burdensome to the point of being unconstitutional.
It would come down how restrictive North Dakota’s law relative to what was just struck down in Texas.