Saturday, November 14, 2015
On Friday, Nov. 13, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, its first major abortion case since 2007. The Court granted certiorari on three questions: (1) Does a court err by refusing to consider whether and to what extent laws that restrict abortion for the stated purpose of promoting health actually serve the government's interest in promoting health? (2) Did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit err in concluding that the applicable standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the state's interest in promoting health—or any valid interest? (3) Did the Fifth Circuit err in holding that res judicata provides a basis for reversing the district court's judgment in part? Whole Women's Health challenges an omnibus Texas law that would close all but 10 of Texas's 40 abortion clinics. There is currently no decision as to whether the Court will also hear Jackson Women's Health Organization v. Currier, which challenges a Mississippi law that would close down the last abortion provider in the state.