The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled 5-4 [decision, PDF] to allow Texas's new abortion law [HB 2] to remain in effect while it is being reviewed by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website]. The provision in question requires doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Pro-choice groups contend [JURIST report] that the admitting privileges requirement imposes an unconstitutional undue burden on women seeking abortions. However, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, found that the plaintiffs in the case had not met their burden of showing that the Fifth Circuit "clearly and demonstrably erred" when it allowed HB 2 to remain in effect [JURIST report]. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented, saying that he expects that the case will return to the Supreme Court once the Fifth Circuit issues a more definitive ruling next year.
Texas has been at the center of the ongoing controversy over reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] filed an emergency request asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a previous injunction [JURIST reports] blocking HB 2. In its brief,Texas defended the admitting privileges requirement, saying that it would promote women's health by "fostering a woman's ability to seek consultation and treatment for complications directly from her physician."