Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: November 13, 2015
  • Case #: 15-274
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 790 F.3d 563
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether state laws with the purpose of promoting health, but with the effect of reducing the availability of abortion services, place an undue burden on women seeking an abortion and are therefore unconstitutional?

The Fifth Circuit reversed a district court ruling that held an admitting privileges requirement placed on abortion clinics was unconstitutional. The requirement states that the physician performing the procedure must have hospital admitting privileges. Those privileges must be active at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Petitioners challenge the requirement as an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. Petitioners argue the Fifth Circuit erred when it failed to consider whether the restriction promoted women’s health. The Seventh and Ninth Circuit, as well the Iowa Supreme Court have adopted this approach when considering whether a burden is undue or not. Petitioners seek a resolution of the split in authority.

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