White House calls Supreme Court decision on abortion ‘unfortunate’

The White House on Monday expressed dismay over the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down a Louisiana law which would have severely restricted abortion access. 

Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in a 5-4 decision overturning a law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, saying the law is virtually identical to one in Texas that the court struck down in 2016, on the basis that it placed undue restrictions on access to abortions and conveyed no obvious benefit to public health. If the law had been implemented, all but one of the clinics providing abortions in Louisiana would have been forced to close.

President Trump’s two appointees to the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were among the four in dissent.

The statement, in the name of press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, was pointed but relatively restrained, considering how important the issue is to Trump’s base.

[Why ruling on abortion may damage Trump’s standing with conservatives]

“In an unfortunate ruling today, the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of unborn children by gutting Louisiana’s policy that required all abortion procedures be performed by individuals with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital,” McEnany said. “States have legitimate interests in regulating any medical procedure — including abortions — to protect patient safety.  

“Instead of valuing fundamental democratic principles, unelected Justices have intruded on the sovereign prerogatives of State governments by imposing their own policy preference in favor of abortion to override legitimate abortion safety regulations.”

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Protests for and against abortion in America

An anti-abortion protester with tape over her mouth demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court before the court handed a victory to abortion rights advocates, striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Washington June 27, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the morning that the court took up a major abortion case focusing on whether a Texas law that imposes strict regulations on abortion doctors and clinic buildings interferes with the constitutional right of a woman to end her pregnancy in Washington March 2, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Anti-Trump demonstrator protests at abortion rights rally in Chicago, Illinois, January 15, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Pro-choice activists celebrate on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Pro-life activists gather outside the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Pro-life activists gather for the National March for Life rally in Washington January 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Pro-Choice supporters of Planned Parenthood rally outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. February 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

A man holds up a rosary in front of competing demonstrators displaying pro-life and pro-choice signs as the annual March for Life concludes at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan)

Siberian Husky Tasha wears a "Huskies for Choice" sign while held by her pro-abortion owner Michelle Kinsey Bruns in front of the Supreme Court during the National March for Life rally in Washington January 22, 2016. The rally marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

A man stands during an anti-Planned Parenthood vigil outside the Planned Parenthood - Margaret Sanger Health Center in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Karen Lieber joined anti-abortion activists protesting in front of Planned Parenthood, Far Northeast Surgical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., February 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charles Mostoller)

Anti-abortion supporters Marian Rumley, Taylor Miller and Sophie Caticchio from Minnesota listen to speeches at the National March for Life rally in Washington January 22, 2016. The rally marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

The Franciscan Friars Minor gather between The Supreme Court of the United States and The Capitol Building during the 44th annual March for Life January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Anti-abortion advocates descended on the US capital on Friday for an annual march expected to draw the largest crowd in years, with the White House spotlighting the cause and throwing its weight behind the campaign.

(ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-choice and pro-life activists demonstrate on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Pro-life activists pray on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Pro-choice demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court cheer as they learn the court struck down the Texas abortion law on Monday, June 27, 2016.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

View of demonstrators in front of the United Nations as they protest against a proposed abortion ban in Poland, New York, New York, April 17, 2016.

(Photo by Chuck Fishman/Getty Images)

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Trump himself has yet to express a view on the decision.

But it was the third time in two weeks that the nation’s highest court delivered a blow to the administration’s policy initiatives. Last week, the Supreme Court rejected a bid to end DACA, the Obama-era immigration program that shields so-called Dreamers from deportation, and ruled that existing federal law protects LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

“Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?” Trump wondered in a tweet following the DACA ruling.

Pro-choice activists directed their scorn at Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who voted with the minority to uphold the Louisiana law.

During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh told Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that he considered abortion rights to be settled law following the court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and would respect a “long-established precedent.”

Kavanaugh’s critics were quick to note his apparent disregard for that precedent in Monday’s vote — and made sure Collins heard it.


”Collins said the reason she trusted Kavanaugh on abortion rights was because he told her Roe was ‘settled law,’” political columnist Laura Bassett tweeted. “The abortion case SCOTUS decided this morning was also ‘settled law,’ and Kavanaugh voted to overturn it. Awaiting her statement on this.”

Collins’s office did not immediately return a request for comments, and the Maine Republican has yet to respond publicly to Monday’s ruling.

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