Supreme Court Hears Major Abortion Case

ABC News' Kate Shaw gives us an update on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the supreme court case over abortion clinic regulations.
9:11 | 03/02/16

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Transcript for Supreme Court Hears Major Abortion Case
I the next case winds of about under Supreme Court has yet have a lot of legal download legally now and I legal name is there it is. There is a beautiful Supreme Court. I'm today they are hearing an abortion case. I made even more interesting because coal is now full pool. They're the there's no attitude over human children. When this just when a verdict is reached I'm its focus is. Six different you need to know about this case are going to be hearing a lot more about this with someone who knows a lot more about it are coming out of Washington DC. Kate shop before we get there this isn't the case that he drank their whole woman's health verses. Palace that it involves the plaintiff in this case our clinics and providers of abortion in Texas where challenging. State legislation that they claim basically impede women's rights are women's ability actions say two you get abortions there. We're going to get deeper into that in just a the second heavily if Kate with us now decades doing fabulous let's bring in Kate off from our Washington DC bureau who has been covering this case. And a supreme court for us here at ABC news Kate thanks so much for joining us. So bring up to speed on the latest on that I gave a very broad overview what this case and tales I'm sure there are a lot more details that people should know about. What are that that most important headlines about this case. It was it was a big morning of Supreme Court a huge crowd out items very lively argument inside. One of the first big case is that the court has heard it and the death of justice Antonin Scalia or they are now only eight members of the Supreme Court who will fight this case. And that could have implications in terms of how out of what the court does here. Oh when you have an even number right age is in theory they could tie for four and any circumstance the tidings of a lower court opinion that in effect. Now the lower court upheld the tax regulations. So what I hear a lower court opinion is in fact the tax law remains in fact the number of clinics in taxes will. I'd go down to something like nine which the challengers claim we'll mean it's very difficult for many women in Texas to obtain abortions. But the court won't make it law for the rest of the country I'm so you do have that interesting dynamic because that because of the even number of jobs is right now. Can't tell me about Justice Kennedy allowed this apparently will ton on almost unknown. Justice Kennedy tell me about Justice Kennedy on why it will must be done until and the. Well he often injustice in a range of case I think he's particularly important here for a couple of free. One he has voted in multiple directions when it comes Hubert the court reviewing our abortion restriction. So he was one of the authors of the last big. The last really important abortion decision according to it was a 1990 Hugh writes all. Goes back quite a while. Decades ago and it how bad it reaffirmed rovers has waived a very famous case that held by the constitution does protect. A woman's right to decide whether to continue a pregnant it. I'm so there's 92 opinion reaffirms rovers as weight but they that they can actually do a lot to regulate abortion. So long as those regulations don't oppose what the court calls an undue burden. The question your duties taxes regulations impose an undue burden and if so they have to be struck down. So there's that Kennedy opinion and then there's an Amare and Justice Kennedy opinion which upheld. A federal abortion law that prohibited a particular type of abortion procedure. So he has reaffirmed Roe vs. Wade that he has been willing to uphold what opponents and are very restrictive laws. So it's not clear which which each of which way I'd been able go in this case I'm and as he goes so we'll go to court almost certainly. Kate. We've been talking about that uncertainly here and anyone else is covering it at a major abortion case as you mentioned it that it only if backed a lot in taxes house bill two. Which there for part Melanie get to in just seconds ago and understand exactly what is at stake but the important thing about the anesthetic could that accidents. That other states could eventually follow so let's back it up and give everyone a deeper look at what is being debated here. A speech to the house bill intact or part right. I got. Right or did of course the two that think parts of the bill that are being challenged or want a requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. And you requirement that abortion clinics. Comply with requirements that apply to ambulatory surgical centers so some people call these requirements. Essentially the turning clinics into me hospitals treating hospital like conditions. In clinics. That don't so these requirements don't apply to other kinds of procedures in its tax. So those are the two big provisions being challenged and the challengers suggest that if allowed to go into effect now these provisions are in part on hold the Supreme Court actually put them on hold while it considered the case they haven't fully gone into effect. Oh with its founder is if they do go into effect and then. Then there will be. Something like only nine clinic attacks back and perform abortions. And women attacked what went more than a 150 or 200 miles up from a clinic where they can actually get. And those in rural Texas who were affected K want it that announcement reading about his case is the beautiful more liberal just as. How note of that. These goals. Single out abortion football whole restrictive regulation than other for each is. With Paul Gregg compensation. Right exactly about what I think that that I've seen it more liberal justice. Is really hammered home. That this law that these kinds of regulations these are not medically or there's no evidence that having admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. On really help women's health. Oh appointed Ginsburg and it was that if a complication does arise after an abortion. Usually that happened after a woman has gone home I would doctors' ability. You have admitting privileges at a hospital that is near the clinic doesn't really benefit when it all just going to go to the nearest hospital to her home. And that's how most op complications arise so so there that the strong kind of theme I think coming out from the liberal job is why. Give that is really not about protecting women's house right and they didn't it would lead but I think they're subtext is. Really this is about impeding women's access to abortion not improving health. Reducing complications or anything about port. And Kate just brings up very quickly now what are the possible outcomes here when and how could this possibly end. Well when I think we'll definitely haven't issued by the end of an on court you know maybe a last week or two it. Another couple possibilities one of Justice Kennedy thinks that Texas has gone too far it has passed a law that you constitute undue burden. That he will probably join a more liberal talk and they want to strike the tax laws down and out. I'm so that it'll be a 53 victory for the clinics challenging the law. Another possibility in theory at least as that he ice with three more three remaining more conservative members of the court. I'm in upholding the tax law and end the department split 44 and the law would remain in effect but wouldn't create national president. So another case would have to come before the court I'm future it. And then there's a possibility which the court to find a way to punt and this was floated a little bit today in oral argument but. And there's there are some questions about. Whether it if it if the text only had nine clinic that was an exit ramp up capacity actually abortions would be roughly is available. After as before for the implementation of the law. May be the impact isn't wouldn't be as dramatic as the islanders have claimed. So there's a chance at the quirk her and the case back to the lower court upheld a lower court take another look. And act ask questions about the capacity of the remaining clinics and that's about what is actually media you sort of punt on a case for probably a year to I think those of the treatment possibilities. I take the dignity of revealed his question but it would be used drugs three different outcomes that these things where the alchemy a little era. Had and Scalia know what. Well you wouldn't have a metaphor for possibility that you still need Justice Kennedy so I think that it added that that you you regardless would have had to get. It had to get the port. Pocket or Texas it would be almost guarantee that justice scalia's certainly Texas would still have to convince Kennedy to vote its way. But I think that it bet that the best Texas can now hope for is a 44 win. And yet it doesn't have that they wrote me a big national victory that it would have happened. On the court. Because guns and that if they released its case all live for us in our Washington DC bureau with the latest on this fascinating case and he'll be taking in the view. As the case moves or thank you so much case. All right John irrelevant you're going to be filing Alan. Now I yeah I I think it's it's aims. It's complexes and I can understand. Until the end you have an ideological. Political and emotional religious to buy about. Whether you have devotional no old point two vision of pregnancy from its imminence of the this is a vocal with its who can it is it is that you are throwing of calls them without having a very clean up. Victories they would hit them. And further complicated I guess we cannot say by the by the read and I think that Justice Scalia yeah. So already about being felt there on the Supreme Court.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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