Republican members of Congress urge the Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion decisions
© WikiMedia (Debra Sweet)
Republican members of Congress urge the Supreme Court to overturn landmark abortion decisions

More than 200 Republican members of Congress and two Democrats filed an amicus curiae brief on Thursday urging the Supreme Court to overturn its decision in the landmark abortion cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The brief argues that the history of the abortion case decisions including Roe, Casey and Hellerstedt, create an “unworkable standard.” The amicus brief points to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s struggle to define the appropriate standard as the reason for reconsidering precedent.

Amici respectfully suggest that the Fifth Circuit’s struggle to define the appropriate “large fraction” or determine what “burden” on abortion access is “undue” illustrates the unworkability of the “right to abortion” found in Roe v. Wade … and the need for the Court to again take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.

The brief is in response to a Louisiana case, June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, that the Supreme Court is set to hear this spring. The case challenges a 2014 Louisiana law, Act 620, that was passed but not enacted, which would require that “every physician who performs or induces an abortion shall ‘have admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.'” June Medical and abortion rights advocates say the act will severely limit access to abortions, while supporters of the law say the bill will make abortions safer.

The amicus brief makes several arguments focused on the standard of care provided to abortion seeking women in Louisiana, as well as to the legal tests used to determine whether an abortion act is lawful. The brief argues that June Medical lacks a “close relationship” with women seeking abortions and should not be given third-party standing. Additionally, the brief lists ten pages of Louisiana abortion clinics’ health and safety violations, and an additional six pages of Louisiana’s abortion physicians’ professional disciplinary actions and examples of substandard medical care.

Currently, only one abortion doctor is able to meet the requirements established in Louisiana Act 620.