Concerned Women for America (CWA) is dismayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision this week in June Medical Services v. Russo. The decision is not a ruling involving the constitutionality of abortion, but rather about upholding protective health codes and guidelines for women receiving medical procedures involving abortion. Unfortunately, in this case, the highest Court again turned its back on protecting life and protecting women.
In 2014, Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson, a Democrat, took a stand to protect women’s health relating to abortion procedures by sponsoring Louisiana Law 620, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. The state law ensured safety for women receiving abortions by requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The law safeguards women during medical procedures in case of emergencies, as well as aligns with medical protocol required for the rest of the state. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s ruling declared the law “unconstitutional” as an “undue burden” on abortion and failed the citizens of Louisiana who believe in the importance of guarding women’s health and safety.
State Senator Jackson vowed to protect against “shoddy medical care … There is no dispute in the medical community about the known complications of abortion, such as hemorrhage, uterine perforation and incomplete abortion … Every complication can become serious and have the potential to change the course of a woman’s life by endangering her reproductive health.”
She went on to state, “While abortion is legally protected, abortion facilities should have the same health standards as the rest of the medical profession. Why should we settle for lower standards for women, especially when women are often coerced or abandoned to the trauma of abortion? I am pro-woman and pro-life.”
U.S. Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) had this to say:
“I am frustrated and angered by today’s Supreme Court ruling. As an OB/GYN of 25 years, I have personally cared for women in emergency situations after they were driving home from a botched abortion … It is necessary to require abortion clinics to comply with basic regulations protecting these women. Beyond the obvious tragedy of abortion, today’s ruling will put the lives and direct health of women at risk. A shameful and wrong decision.”
Louisiana’s abortion clinics, including June Medical Services, have been flagged on multiple occasions with violating safety codes and guidelines. Violations documented in Statements of Deficiencies by the Louisiana Department of Health include failure to ensure all patients completed and signed consent forms for the abortion procedure, failure to ensure an abortion patient was medically stable upon discharge, failure to ensure that the physician performed and documented a physical examination on each abortion patient, failure to ensure medical supplies utilized were sanitary, unexpired, and properly stored, and more.
Instead of affirming a state’s right to regulate against such egregious violations, the Court majority chose instead to fail women by refusing to allow states like Louisiana to regulate abortion in the same way it regulates other medical procedures. This ruling extends the bad Supreme Court precedent that only guarantees future court fights over state laws. Rest assured that CWA will be there rallying for the pro-woman, pro-life cause, and against the misguided abortion “carve-outs” that continue to be perpetuated by the Court.
Lindsey Hudson is a CWA 2020 Intern for our Government Relations Dept.