High Court to Decide Whether to Take Up Major Abortion Case

Abortion is back before the Supreme Court, and the justices could signal by the end of June whether they are likely to take up the biggest case on the hot-button subject in nearly a quarter-century.

If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

The court is considering an emergency appeal from abortion providers in Texas, who want the justices to block two provisions of a state law that already has forced the closure of roughly half the licensed abortion clinics in the state. Ten of the remaining 19 clinics will have to shut their doors by July 1, without an order from the Supreme Court.

The Texas law is among a wave of state measures in recent years that have placed restrictions on when in a pregnancy abortions may be performed, imposed limits on abortions using drugs instead of surgery and increased standards for clinics and the doctors who work in them.

The Texas case involves the last of these categories. The provisions at issue require clinics to meet hospital-like surgical standards and also call on doctors who work in the clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry signed the law in 2013 when he was the state’s governor.