| Washington Examiner
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo, a case that calls into question the constitutionality of an abortion clinic regulation in Louisiana, in the coming month. The imminent ruling has the potential to reshape the future of abortion industry litigation, advancing the pro-life movement in one of the most significant ways since Roe v. Wade. The law in question is Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, which requires abortion providers to hold admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice. The law closed a loophole that allowed abortionists to get around this requirement, even though it applied to all other doctors. The regulation passed with bipartisan support in 2014.
As is the case with many regulations meant to protect the safety of women during an abortion, the abortion industry sued to enjoin the law the same year it was passed. They alleged that the act curtails a women’s right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade.
Most interesting about this case is the fact that the plaintiffs, who claim that they are acting to protect women’s rights, have a questionable background in this regard. Bossier City Medical Suite, a plaintiff in the action, surrendered its license and shut its doors in 2017 because it had performed abortions on at least five minor children and did not file the required statutory rape reports with the authorities. Another abortion clinic in the lawsuit, Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, was closed for a time because a patient suffering from severe bleeding after an abortion was rushed to a local hospital. The clinic was cited in violation of the law when authorities discovered it did not have sufficient supplies to stabilize the patient’s bleeding. Recently, a medical emergency was reported in a New Orleans abortion facility during the COVID-19 pandemic — yet another documented case revealing the tendency of abortion clinics to put profits before patient safety.
Women seeking abortions have the same right to competent and quality care as patients involved in other surgical procedures. Louisiana's admitting-privileges law protects that right as it protects women from injuries received from abortion providers such as these plaintiffs.
So, why can abortion clinics that harm women, as these two have, be allowed to challenge in court a state abortion regulation that protects the health of women? Further, how can they be allowed to assert that they are suing on behalf of women?
The answer to these questions is found in the twisted rules on standing that apply in the case of abortion. The law now allows abortion providers the ability to challenge regulations that protect the lives of mothers. In doing so, the law creates a legal fiction granting abortion providers standing to represent the interests of the women they injure. This is similar to allowing a car manufacturing company to represent consumer interests when challenging a car safety law.
Although not often discussed, this issue of third-party standing could be the linchpin in this case. If the Supreme Court agrees with the state of Louisiana that abortion providers have no standing to sue to block laws intended to protect women from them, then the lawsuit must be dismissed.
Who is an injured party from abortion regulations such as the Louisiana law in question? If there are any, the injured parties would undoubtedly be women who are harmed by the hospital requirement. However, no woman has sued for an injury that has resulted from these hospital regulations. Instead, the very parties who have injured women through abortion are allowed to bring suit, allegedly to protect such women. In actuality, they are bringing suit to protect their own interests.
All states, including Louisiana, have an interest in regulating abortion and a duty to protect women. If the Supreme Court rules to prohibit such self-serving litigation from abortion providers, then future litigation from the abortion industry against state pro-life laws will be difficult to pursue. If this occurs, this Supreme Court case and decision will be a significant development in the future of abortion and Roe v. Wade. READ MORE