The US Supreme Court has defended abortion rights in Louisiana in the first ruling on the procedure since two Trump appointees joined the court.
The major ruling struck down a state law that would have required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
It marked the second time in four years that the court ruled against the abortion law after it was voted down in Texas in 2016.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined four liberal justices who reaffirmed their 2016 decision that the limits have no medical benefits and place an impermissible “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to end a pregnancy.
President Donald Trump’s administration supported Louisiana in the case and joined anti-abortion advocates in hoping the Supreme Court would permit abortion restrictions like those being pursued in other conservative states.
The 5-4 vote was a victory for Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women in its challenge to the 2014 law.
Roberts dissented in the Texas case but voted with the liberals in the Louisiana case based on the court’s tradition of adhering to its precedents, he said.
“I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today however is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case,” he said.
Several similar cases in other states are heading toward justices that could lead to reversed abortion access.
Two of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would have been forced to close if the law passed, according to medical lawyers.
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