Supreme Court Rejects Three Pro-Life Petitions After Abortion Ruling

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The abortion lobby is having a good week at the U.S. Supreme Court.

On the last day of the Court’s term, the justices struck down a Texas law placing two restrictions on abortion providers in a 5-3 decision, finding the legislation constituted an “undue burden” on access to reproductive healthcare. (RELATED: SCOTUS Axes Texas Abortion Law)

Then on Tuesday, colloquially known as “clean up” day, or the last day of the term that the Court makes decisions about which cases they will hear, the justices declined to accept three petitions pro-life groups hoped they would hear.

The high court let stand two lower court rulings which struck down abortion regulations in Mississippi and Wisconsin. The laws required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic where abortions are being performed. By denying the appeal, the Supreme Court has, in effect, struck down the laws.

The justices also declined to hear a challenge to a Washington state law requiring all pharmacies to dispense emergency contraception, including Plan B. A small group of pharmacists in Olympia sued the state, seeking a conscience accommodation because distributing emergency contraception violates their religious beliefs, while offering to refer patients to other pharmacies.

A lower court found that the pharmacists could not seek a religious exemption to valid laws which are applicable to everyone and do not target a specific group. Justice Samuel Alito dissented from the denial of cert, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, arguing the Washington state law expressly targeted religious dissenters. Because the Court declined to hear the appeal from the pharmacists, they will be required to sell emergency contraception.

“This case is an ominous sign,” Alito wrote. “If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”

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