Center Director Signs Amicus Brief in Texas HB2 Supreme Court Case

Author: Center for Ethics and Culture

Center Director Carter Snead (Notre Dame Law School) submitted a brief amici curiae with six other law professors on February 3 in the Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The case will examine whether the Texas law known as HB2, which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and for abortion centers to be held to the same standards as surgical outpatient centers, places an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. From the summary:

Under the governing precedents, the challenged provisions of the Texas statute withstand facial attack: the legislature had “a rational basis,” Gonzales, 550 U.S. at 158, for concluding that HB2’s requirements would further the state’s legitimate interest in improving women’s health by making abortions safer; and petitioners have failed to show that whatever increased expenses or difficulties some Texas women may encounter in obtaining abortions rise to the level of a “substantial obstacle.” In the context of the undue burden standard, heightened scrutiny of legislative purposes is inappropriate because regulations whose effects do not create a “substantial obstacle” to abortion access should enjoy the same presumption of constitutionality as ordinary social and economic legislation. Similarly, to transform the “substantial obstacle” inquiry into a balancing test would jeopardize the state’s ability to enact legislation to protect fetal life and maternal health, by empowering trial courts to strike down any regulation whose tendency to advance state interests is — in their varying and value-laden judgments — deserving of less weight than whatever burdens the regulation may impose on access to abortion. 

The Court will likely hear the case March 2. Read the full brief here.