The Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (WWH) struck down a Texas law targeting abortion providers by allowing judges to balance the health benefits of the regulation against the burdens on a woman’s access to abortion. In doing so, the Court effectively gutted the efforts of anti-abortion legislators to limit the core right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Robertson Whole Women Until either Justices Anthony Kennedy or Ruth Bader Ginsburg retire and are replaced by a Republican President, Roe, Casey, and WWH should limit the reach of anti-abortion legislation.
A good example of the blocking effect of WWH is the difficulty states will now have enforcing statutes that aim at protecting fetal status prior to viability. Typical of such efforts are laws in 10 states that require that aborted fetuses be handled as if they were stillborn or dead children and adults, i.e., interment or cremation and interment. The practice for many years had been to teat fetal remains as other medical waste–incineration and deposition in a sanitary landfill, or grinding and flushing down a drain. Continue reading