Five justices agreed to issue the emergency stay, one more than what is required to take the case on its merits. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted to deny the action, the court stated.
“We are confident that the justices will make clear once again that the constitutional protections for safe and legal abortions are real,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the case on behalf of the abortion providers and clinics. Northup also stated confidently that the latest action is the second time the Supreme Court has intervened on the Texas law, H.B. 2.
The bill originally failed receiving approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis.
Gov. Rick Perry then called the Legislature into a second session to continue consideration of the bill.
Davis, who is running for governor, shot down Tuesday’s decision.
Only nine clinics would have remained opened without the emergency stay, according to abortion-rights advocates. Approximately 20 clinics have been shut down since taking effect in 2013. They require that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital and that abortion clinics meet the building standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
Critics believe tougher standards will make it much more difficult to obtain an abortion. “By actively lobbying against common sense regulations that would make sure women have access to ‘safe, legal and rare’ abortions, Planned Parenthood and their allies are making a mockery of women’s health care,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights says,”The justices have preserved Texas women’s few remaining options for safe and legal abortion care for the moment,” who represents the Texas clinics in the lawsuit. “Now it’s time to put a stop to these clinic shutdown laws once and for all.”