October 16, 2015

​Fate of Abortion Clinics Awaits High Court

 ©2015 Baptist Press

The fate of multiple abortion clinics awaits the consideration of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court will have the opportunity to decide this term, which opened Oct. 5, whether state governments may enact rules that result in shutting down most abortion clinics or even the only one remaining in the state. In addition to abortion, the justices also will consider such issues as the death penalty and affirmative action in their term, which will conclude early next summer.

The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will review rulings by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on abortion regulations enacted by Mississippi and Texas, but the uncertainty is expected to end soon. The high court is likely to make a decision about whether to accept appeals of the lower-court decisions during its conference Nov. 6, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told Baptist Press he is praying the justices will accept the cases and issue "a judgment consistent with life and human dignity."

"The Supreme Court has an opportunity to defend the rights of millions of women and children against the predatory practices of the robber barons of the abortion industry," Moore said in written comments. "These cases go beyond typical left vs. right boundaries and speak to the need to protect our neighbors from greed and exploitation."

Steven Aden, ADF senior counsel, is "more hopeful that the Supreme Court will take these abortion cases, or at least one of them, than I have been in a while," he told BP in an Oct. 12 phone interview. The justices' interest has been signaled by the fact they have scheduled the Mississippi case for conference seven times beginning in the spring, Aden said. Also, it's time for another ruling on abortion, he told BP.

The high court has not issued an opinion on abortion since 2007, when it upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. "[T]hat's the longest dry spell I'm aware of for the Supreme Court not to have taken an abortion case," said Aden, director of ADF's Center for Life Alliances. "So it's way overdue." 

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