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This Law “Should Never Have Passed in the First Place,” says Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced it has denied the state of Arizona’s request for review of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimous ruling last May that a 2012 state law outlawing abortion almost one month earlier than viability determined by a doctor is unconstitutional.  However, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hold oral argument in a case that seeks to overturn a Massachusetts law designed to protect public safety, patient privacy, and free speech rights outside reproductive health care centers.  In March, argument will be held in two cases where employers have sought to deny contraception coverage for their employees.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Today the Court did the right thing, but women’s health is still on the docket — not only at the Supreme Court, but in active cases all across the country.  This unprecedented assault against women’s constitutional rights shows it’s time for new leaders who value women’s health.  A dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional law like Arizona’s abortion ban should have never passed in the first place.”

In the 41 years following Roe v. Wade, in decisions including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court has never wavered from the principle that the Constitution protects a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion, and that therefore, a state may not ban abortion prior to viability. Polls show that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women, opposes the Arizona abortion ban because it “severely endang[ers] women’s health.” 

At issue in McCullen vs. Coakley — before the Court January 15 — is a Massachusetts law establishing a fixed, 35-foot buffer zone during health center operating hours that passed in 2007 after decades of harassment and intimidation of Massachusetts women seeking safe access to legal reproductive health care services, including birth control, cancer screenings, and abortion. 

Arguments in lawsuits brought by Hobby Lobby, a for-profit corporation that operates a chain of arts and crafts stores, and another by Conestoga Wood Products, a for-profit corporation that manufactures cabinets, are scheduled for March 25.  If the Supreme Court rules in favor of these corporations seeking to deny contraception coverage for their employees, it would create a very slippery slope, giving private, for-profit employers the right to interfere with their employees’ rights to other forms of health coverage based solely on the employers’ religious views.