Ruling's Meaning for Pa. Unclear; Abortion Rights Advocates Celebrated the Supreme Court's Ruling Monday Striking Stringent Texas Regulations for Abortion Clinics, but It Remains Unclear How the Court's Biggest Abortion Ruling in Decades Might Affect Similar Rules in Pennsylvania. [Derived Headline]

By Fontaine, Tom | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2016 | Go to article overview

Ruling's Meaning for Pa. Unclear; Abortion Rights Advocates Celebrated the Supreme Court's Ruling Monday Striking Stringent Texas Regulations for Abortion Clinics, but It Remains Unclear How the Court's Biggest Abortion Ruling in Decades Might Affect Similar Rules in Pennsylvania. [Derived Headline]


Fontaine, Tom, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Abortion rights advocates celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling Monday striking stringent Texas regulations for abortion clinics, but it remains unclear how the court's biggest abortion ruling in decades might affect similar rules in Pennsylvania.

"This is a landmark ruling that is an enormous win for women. ... We need to re-evaluate our rules to see whether there are opportunities to overturn" aspects of Pennsylvania abortion regulations, said Kim Everett, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania Inc., which operates a Downtown women's health services clinic.

Helen Cindrich, executive director of the People Concerned for the Unborn Child chapter based in Dormont, said her group is going to work to reduce abortions "until all the babies are protected."

Texas and Pennsylvania both required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory or outpatient surgical centers. Texas' law also required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals; Pennsylvania does not.

In its 5-3 ruling, the Supreme Court said Texas' regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to abortion. Texas had 40 abortion clinics before the state government approved the more stringent regulations in 2013. Only 19 remain -- the same number as in Pennsylvania, which has fewer than half as many residents. About 32,000 abortions are performed annually in Pennsylvania.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Thomas wrote that the decision "exemplifies the court's troubling tendency 'to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.' " Thomas was quoting an earlier abortion dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Scalia has not yet been replaced, so only eight justices voted.

President Obama praised the decision. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the outcome "a victory for women in Texas and across America."

The campaign of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, did not release official statements or social media postings. The campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

"It's premature to predict what impact the ruling will have precisely on Pennsylvania law," said Susan J. …

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Ruling's Meaning for Pa. Unclear; Abortion Rights Advocates Celebrated the Supreme Court's Ruling Monday Striking Stringent Texas Regulations for Abortion Clinics, but It Remains Unclear How the Court's Biggest Abortion Ruling in Decades Might Affect Similar Rules in Pennsylvania. [Derived Headline]
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