The U.S. Supreme Court has jumped headlong back into the abortion wars. The court said Friday that it will hear arguments in a case from Louisiana that is nearly identical to a Texas case decided by the court three years ago. Like the Texas law that the court previously struck down, the Louisiana law requires any doctor performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; it also requires that clinics that provide abortions be, in effect, mini-hospitals, with everything from wide corridors to expensive equipment.
The Supreme Court said in the Texas case that neither was needed to protect women’s health and that both requirements imposed “a substantial burden” on a woman’s right to abortion. Louisiana has conceded that its law is virtually identical to the Texas law. The difference is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who cast the decisive fifth vote in the 2016 Texas case, has retired and been replaced by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, who has already indicated his willingness to undermine or discard the 2016 decision.