Oral arguments begin over landmark abortion case

Pro-choice protesters gather outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments. Constitutional scholar Melissa Murray explains the dichotomy before the justices.
5:46 | 03/05/20

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Transcript for Oral arguments begin over landmark abortion case
The latest fight over access to abortion reached the Supreme Court today this is the first time that the court has heard an abortion case since justices Kavanagh on corsets joined the court the fight is over can. A controversial Louisiana abortion access law that critics say will leave only one doctor in this state with the ability to perform the procedure. Demonstrators from both sides were out in full force today in front of the court take a listen. Yeah legal and I have Quincy and they in my diet. I think pregnant me. I'm they think. I didn't think that you cannot bind to and embarrassing. I'm thinking and it wears yeah. I'm here to tell this story and it's interesting to me right that there is anyone on the other side have been amazed because that seemed like my mom and I am pregnant woman. Yeah. The event winning its. Tax and its parent or. And studies and they protected monopoly may not it green with a pregnant women are getting an abortion we still recognize that all women to meet regularly treated with dignity. And Cindy protected in these cases that. Something goes around here. Our community and abortion illegal and not an independent and we wanted to be saved enough facts are and yeah. It's not how about protecting. This is an average week. NYU law professor Melissa Marie joins us now live with more thanks so much for joining us and chatting so let's get our viewers up to speeding give us a sense of the specifics of the case that the judges were heard today. This case comes from Louisiana there's a lot that requires physicians to perform abortions have admitting privileges at hospitals over thirty miles from the provider. I'm the problem with this according to those who support abortion rights is that most women actually have to travel far distances to get an abortion clinic in the first place so. When they do go home after an abortion procedure of actually far away from this particular. Hospital where the doctor might have admitting privileges at the other issue they say it's that. The doctors are likely to get admitting privileges because abortions are so safe that their rarely ever going to fulfill the requirement of having to actually admit patients to the hospital. This law abortion activists say is really just a ruse to further fort tale abortion access and Louisiana. How sort of most states normally go as far as regulating abortion and how would this case change that potentially. I don't lot to regulate abortion a constitutional standard is that they may not impose a substantial obstacle on the path of a woman. Seeking an abortion and no law can have the purpose or fact of placing a substantial obstacle and a woman's past. This case though would really force the states if that the existing laws upheld. To really show that their reasons for passing abortion legislation as intended. To have more benefits than burdens on the women who will actually be affected by the law and lower the oral arguments like today. While he really interesting because this is a case where the state really held a lot of the cards and many people thought that this is going to go very poorly. For abortion providers but in fact is a quite hopeful day. The case began with some very pressing questions from Justice Alito about a third party standing whether the physicians here. For the appropriate person is to bring this case or whether this is better brought by abortion patients. But then quickly shifted to the merits where the liberal wing of the court ruling hammered. The Louisiana satin representatives about whether or not this law was actually going to provide women. With increased benefits that outweighed the burdens on abortion access and how would change composition of the court likely affect the outcome. Well the fact that this case is being heard it all suggests how much a difference a new justice has made on this court. I'm this admitting privileges law that's at issue here is virtually identical to one that the court struck down in 2016 and hall women's health vs Heller stet. In that case it was a five to three decision with Justice Kennedy joining the liberal wing of the court of course Justice Kennedy has since retired. And he has been replaced by Brett Cavanaugh and Justice Scalia who passed away in that case was heard has now been replaced by justice or stage and those to justice says. Seemed to have more credible or predisposition toward. I'm upholding the slot and further limiting abortion access pardon for let you know when I listen to those controversial remarks by senator Chuck Schumer. I wanted Joseph hill Gore's arch I want to tell you Kavanagh. You have released go away and didn't I'm you well today. And you know why can't you if you go forward good days awful decisions. You won't know what you hate you wow and so this actually prompted a rare response from the Chief Justice. Yes it Oden is I think a very unusual statement that most politician certainly a sitting senator. I'm stays away front and foiling the court and politics I'm hearing jotted shouldn't. Senator Schumer staff said he is really only speaking about repercussions on Tora process but obviously. I'm those words could have many different messages but chief Justice Roberts who. I think understands himself to be the institutional Steward of the court's legitimacy and really felt like this was average chief art of course it comes on the heels. A president trot making statements about justice Sotomayor and justice Ginsburg just last week Sarah he took the unusual step of saying that this was just not suitable and it's very much in line. With his former statements about there being no time charges no bomb a judges just federal judges during their level fast. To interpret ally and interpret the constitution starring Melissa thank you for interpreting the law for us tonight we'll be leisurely news you.

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

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