Down one conservative justice since the death of Antonin Scalia last month, the Supreme Court must now decide how to rule on more restrictive regulations on abortion in Texas. Gavino Garay reporters.
The decision before the Supreme Court is the first major case since the death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia last month. It's also the first major abortion case in nearly a decade on a Texas law imposing strict regulations on clinics and abortion doctors. The state contends that the so-called HB2 law passed in 2013 protects women's health. The law requires abortion practitioners to have "admitting privileges" at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic and requires clinics to have hospital-grade facilities. Abortion providers say such stringent provisions have forced clinics to close. Lead Plaintiff Amy Hagstrom of Whole Woman's Health, says the restrictions have forced clinics to close and it's women who've suffered. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, CEO WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH, SAYING: "Today we called on the Supreme Court to step in and help us stand up to those bullies who are trying to control our bodies and our lives.... This law is cruel and it is harsh and it does nothing to advance medical health for women." But Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller says the HB2 law is all about a woman's safety. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEXAS SOLICITOR GENERAL SCOTT KELLER SAYING: "This case is not about overturning Roe v. Wade, what this case, the issue in this case, is can Texas enact valid patient regulations and improve safety. And when over 210 women annually are hospitalized due to abortion, Texas can." With the court down one conservative justice, a decision could be split 4-4. A ruling is not expected until june.