Supreme Court to rule on Texas abortion law

"The abortion industry has always operated at the expense of women and families."-- Russell Moore
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today (Nov. 13) to rule on a Texas law that stands to sound the death knell for many abortion clinics.

The justices announced they would weigh a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that upheld most of the Texas measure, which requires an abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case a woman needs emergency hospitalization. The law also mandates abortion clinics must meet the health and safety standards of other walk-in surgical centers.

If upheld by the high court, the law would reduce the number of abortion facilities in Texas from what had been about 40 to fewer than 10.

Such a decision by the justices would have an impact in other states that have similar laws. The justices failed to act on an appeal of another Fifth Circuit ruling that affirmed a Mississippi law that requires admitting privileges for abortion doctors.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said after the high court issued its order, "We shouldn't be surprised that the abortion rights lobby fights legislation that creates accountability for surgeons and clinics. The abortion industry has always operated at the expense of women and families.

"My prayer is that the Supreme Court will act in defense of the lives of women and the unborn in empowering states to cut through the political armor of the abortion industry and keep it accountable to the public," Moore said.

After the announcement, Steven Aden, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Texas law provides "common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women. Abortionists should not be exempt from medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow."

The Supreme Court has not issued an opinion on abortion since 2007, when it upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

Earlier this year, the justices blocked implementation of the Texas law while the appeal process continues.

Oral arguments in the case, which is Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, are not expected until February or later.

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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