NRL News

Still no decision by Supreme Court whether it will hear challenge to Texas pro-life law

by | Nov 9, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

thoushallnotkillsign3You have to give the justices credit, at least for drama. The Supreme Court made no decision today whether it would accept a lawsuit challenging portions of HB 2, Texas’ 2013 omnibus pro-life bill.

It’ll be Friday’s private conference before the nine justices next consider whether to accept the challenge brought by a coalition of Texas abortion providers. If it does, an announcement could come that day or next Monday.

Last Friday the High Court took its first formal look at the appeal. But according to accounts, it’s not at all unusual for the justices to discuss “high-profile” cases multiple times before making a decision.

That having been said (and for what it’s worth), the consensus is the High Court will hear the challenge to two components: that abortion clinics meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and that abortionists have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital for situations of medical emergencies. The latter has already gone into effect.

Adding urgency is that if the High Court does accept the case, a decision could come down in mid-2016, in the midst of the presidential contest.

The various and sundry challenges to HB 2 have been winding their way through the legal system for over a year and half. The twists and turns are mind-numbingly complex. You can find a summary here.

In another issue of interest to pro-lifers, last Friday the justices again agreed to review an aspect of ObamaCare.

In 2014, the Court rejected the Obama Administration’s attempt to force family-owned for-profit corporations to directly purchase health insurance covering certain drugs and devices that violate the employer’s religious and moral beliefs. The Court held that this application of a provision of Obamacare violates a federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Court’s majority recognized the gravity of the moral and religious objections raised by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties in this case.

As National Right to Life pointed out at the time, while the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was a narrow victory for religious liberty, it did not truly correct any of the major abortion-expanding problems created by Obamacare. The “heart of the problem”

is the overly expansive authority that the Obamacare law itself provides to HHS to define “preventive services.” The other major abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, including the massive tax subsidies that will assist millions of Americans to purchase health plans that cover elective abortion, were not even issues in the cases just decided.

The new case addressees the challenge brought by faith-based hospitals, schools, and charities. They contend the so-called “opt-out provision” does not go nearly far enough to accommodate their objections which are based on their religious beliefs.

But even if the High Court agrees with the plaintiffs, regardless of how the scope of the “accommodation” is defined, it is difficult to discern what would prevent HHS from issuing a further expansion of its “preventive services” mandate to require that most employers also provide coverage for surgical abortions, or for doctor-prescribed suicide, that would be just as expansive as the contraceptive mandate.

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Categories: Judicial