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More than 200 lawmakers urge Supreme Court to 'reconsider' Roe v. Wade
More than 200 members of Congress want the Supreme Court to "reconsider" the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.
Led by Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), 166 House Republicans and 39 Senate Republicans signed an amicus brief calling the right to an abortion "unworkable."
Two Democrats, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), also signed onto the brief. Lipinski has come under fire for his anti-abortion stance, and is being targeted in his upcoming primary by a progressive Democrat.
"Forty-six years after Roe was decided, it remains a radically unsettled precedent," the lawmakers wrote in an amicus brief.
The lawmakers noted the "unworkability" of the "right to abortion" found in Roe v. Wade, and suggested the court take up the issue of whether the case should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.
The lawmakers were writing in support of a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a requirement that critics say is designed to force abortion clinics to close.
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments challenging the law in March. If upheld, the restrictions could leave the state with just one abortion provider.
The amicus brief is likely to give new ammunition to opponents of the law, who argue that the case represents a direct challenge to Roe, even though Louisiana itself did not ask the court to formally overturn Roe.
It will be the first abortion case taken up by the Supreme Court since President Trump's two nominees - Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh - were confirmed to the bench.
In the amicus brief filed in support of the state, the lawmakers argued that the abortion clinic in question, June Medical Services, lacks the standing to argue on behalf of its patients. The lawmakers also said abortion clinics, including June Medical, have a long history of health and safety violations.
The state has argued that admitting privileges are necessary in order to protect the health and safety of patients.
In challenging the state's regulations, the lawmakers wrote, abortion providers are not interested in the safety of their patients, and thus lack standing.
"There is an inherent conflict of interest between abortion providers and their patients," they wrote. "It is impossible for abortion clinics and doctors to share or represent the interests of their patients when they seek to eliminate the very regulations designed to protect their patients' health and safety."
The Supreme Court in 2016 struck down an almost identical law in Texas because it resulted in the closure of half of the state's abortion clinics, which would place an "undue burden" on women seeking a legal abortion.
But the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas, considered to be one of the most conservative courts in the country, upheld the Louisiana restrictions in a 2-1 decision, finding that it was "remarkably different" than the Texas law.
The court found there was "no evidence" any abortion clinics would close under the Louisiana law because it was easier for doctors to obtain admitting privileges in the state.