Whole Woman’s Health in the Supreme Court: When Does Regulation Count as an Undue Burden?

In its first major argument since the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the newly constituted eight-member Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt had a spirited session on whether the twin requirements of Texas Law H.B. 2 constituted an “undue burden” on a women’s constitutional right to have an abortion set out in 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The first of these requirements was that any physician have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion took place. The second, and more onerous, was that the abortion be performed in an Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) that is frequently reserved for procedures more dangerous than an abortion.