Politics

207 lawmakers urge Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade

Key Points
  • More than 200 mostly Republican members of Congress filed an amicus brief in an upcoming abortion case, urging the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion.
  • The brief is in support of a law at the center of an upcoming court case, June Medical Services v. Gee, that experts say could severely restrict abortion access in Louisiana.
  • It will be the first major case relating to abortion rights that both the justices appointed by President Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will weigh in on.
A placard saying, Abortion is a Human Right, is seen during the "Stop The Bans Day of Action for Abortion Rights" rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
Michael Brochstein | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

More than 200 mostly Republican members of Congress filed an amicus brief Thursday in an upcoming abortion case, urging the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion.

The 207 lawmakers — made up of 168 House members and 39 senators — "have a special interest in the correct interpretation, application, and enforcement of health and safety standards for elective abortion enacted by the People of the States they represent," the brief said.

Only two Democratic House members, Reps. Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, signed on to the brief.

The brief is in support of a law at the center of an upcoming court case, June Medical Services v. Gee, that experts say could severely restrict abortion access in Louisiana.

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Justices in March will hear arguments for the controversial Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortions are provided.

"Requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital ignores the fact that abortion is very safe and patients rarely require emergency care, and that admitting privileges can sometimes be impossible for abortion providers to obtain," according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit abortion-rights organization.

It will be the first major case relating to abortion rights that both the justices appointed by President Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will weigh in on.

With their additions, the Supreme Court's balance on the topic has shifted to favor conservative policies. Previously, Justice Anthony Kennedy had sided with liberal justices on issues such as abortion.

The document also urges the Supreme Court "to provide clarity regarding the bounds of the Government's ability to safeguard the lives and health of their citizens."

Opponents said upholding the Louisiana law would effectively limit the state, with a population of 4.5 million people, to one abortion provider.

Opponents are also worried that the ruling could have broader implications for abortion rights, arguing it might undermine "undue burden," a standard referenced by the Supreme Court to determine whether a law restricting abortion is unconstitutional.

Ilyse Hogue, president of nonprofit NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement on Thursday, "The anti-choice movement is no longer trying to hide their real agenda. They are gunning to end Roe, criminalize abortion and punish women."

Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, told CNBC, "Here in this case, the court has the opportunity to further define that undue burden."