News Tip: Even With Supreme Court Victory, Abortion Rights Advocates Have Reason For Caution, Duke Expert Says

Age of justices should prompt concern for abortion rights advocates, Duke expert says

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected new forms of state restrictions on access to abortion clinics in its ruling in Whole Woman’s Health Clinic v. Hellerstedt. Duke Law Professor Neil Siegel, a constitutional law expert who coauthored an amicus brief cited in the majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health, is available to comment on the case.Quote: "Texas’s HB 2 was so clearly unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent, and procedural objections to the Court's hearing the case were so weak, that Whole Women’s Health was always about whether the Court would continue to afford any constitutional protection to women's reproductive rights. ‘[I]n the face of no threat to women’s health,’ the Supreme Court observed today, ‘Texas seeks to force women to travel long distances to get abortions in crammed-to-capacity superfacilities.’  Although the trial court drew the ‘commonsense inference’ that ‘these effects would be harmful to, not supportive of, women’s health,’ the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans disagreed. Although today the Supreme Court righted that wrong, it is noteworthy that the three oldest Justices were all in the five-Justice majority. Defenders of abortion rights should be as concerned as opponents about this case's journey and destination.”Bio: Neil S. Siegel is a professor of law and public policy at Duke Law School.  He specializes in constitutional law and has focused much of his scholarship and research on reproductive rights. Siegel was one of five civil procedure experts who authored an amicus brief cited in the majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health. Contact Siegel at:siegel@law.duke.edu