Supreme Court justices have begun clashing over a Louisiana law brought before the court for a oral arguments on Wednesday. The 2014 law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 mile away.
Challengers in the case — a Louisiana abortion clinic and two abortion doctors — said the law would provide no health or safety benefits for their patients, arguing that the law is aimed at inhibiting access to abortions.
If it took effect, the law would force the closure of all but one Louisiana abortion clinic.
Justice Samuel Alito asked why providers have legal standing to bring legal claims in the case, rather than the affected patients coming instead. Lawyer Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights said their claim stems from the providers being the ones directly regulated by the state.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested that requiring abortion clinics to be within 30 miles of a hospital, rather than require admitting privileges to those hospitals, could be a compromise.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was uncharacteristically silent during the argument. Chief Justice John Roberts' vote is expected to be crucial in this case.
The court is expected to hand down a decision in the case before July.