House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Wednesday joined pro-lifers outside the U.S. Supreme Court just as the justices inside were hearing arguments about whether Texas can require abortionists to have access to hospital facilities should an emergency arise.
And the arguments came as more states already are looking at moving the same direction.
The oral arguments were before eight justices, since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and Reuters reported the case appeared to be up in the air.
The four left-leaning justices, including Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor who were appointed by Barack Obama, questioned the legitimacy and the need for the law. But the conservative justices, which appeared to include the pivotal Justice Anthony Kennedy, doubted the claims from those who challenged the law.
Kennedy at one point even suggested sending the case back to the lower courts to accumulate evidence about the law’s impact – a move that would leave the lower appellate court’s support for the law standing as law.
Reuters reported if that happens, it surely could encourage other states to pass similar laws.
In fact, the Massachusetts Family Institute announced at the same time as the hearing was going on that a bill was pending before the state legislature that would address health and safety concerns at abortion businesses.
The organization pointed out the double standard – tanning booths, hair salons and veterinary offices are all subject to licensure and inspection requirements, but abortion clinics are not.
The state’s Woman’s Safety Act (House Bill 2039) seeks to rectify this by holding all abortion facilities to basic health and safety standards.
The Texas law was among several adopted in the wake of the investigation into the bloody, grisly practices in a Philadephia abortion business run by Kermit Gosnell. Trial evidence revealed at least two women died at his business and the grand jury in the case urged lawmakers to crack down on unsafe conditions like those present in his business.
He eventually was convicted of killing infants born alive and sentenced to prison.
In a brief appearance recorded by Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, Ryan first thanked everyone for being there and to be “standing for life.”
“We are standing for women, for the unborn, standing for the rule of law,” he said. “We have to make sure that our voices are heard.”
He called Texas’ law “very common sense” and said it should not be overturned.
CNN reported the “liberal wing” of the course was critical of the law, and the “three women justices” delivered a “sustained attack” on Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who was defending the state’s law.
Kennedy asked questions on both sides. It could end in a 4-4 split, which would leave the existing decision from the lower court standing.
There were multiple friends of the court briefs, including one on behalf of 3,348 women who have been injured by abortion.
Courthouse News reported U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. told the court that the remaining Texas abortion businesses will be able to perform only 14,000 abortions per year, compared with 65,000 to 75,000 prior to the law’s implementation.
He was weighing in, with the permission of the court, on behalf of Barack Obama, and on the side of the protesters who chanted “hail Satan” while trying to prevent Texas from adopting the law.
Matthew Clark, writing for the American Center for Law and Justice website, said the “most pro-abortion administration in history will now bring the full weight of the Justice Department to bear on this landmark case.”
He pointed out that the Texas law essentially bans late-term abortions after 20 weeks, requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals so that victims of botched abortions can get immediate help, requires abortion clinics to follow the same safety standards applied to medical facilities and enforces FDA guidelines for handing out drugs.
“That’s right, President Obama’s pro-abortion legal juggernauts will be arguing directly before the Supreme Court to ensure that no regulation whatsoever of the abortion industry be allowed – leaving women and children to suffer at the hands of unregulated, dangerous, money-grubbing abortionists,” Clark wrote.
“This is the culmination of what a pro-abortion mob, shouting ‘hail Satan,’ attempted to do – shutting down the Texas legislature in an effort to block the passage of a state law imposing basic safety regulations on abortion clinics.”
WND reported in 2013 when Texas adopted the limits that pro-abortion activists chanted “hail Satan” in the statehouse.
When the fight was raging, a video appeared showing pro-life advocates singing “Amazing Grace” while abortion activists chanted “hail Satan.”
Another video of the event, posted on a blog site run by Adam Cahm, revealed the chant taken up in unison by several voices, an effect Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com called far “creepier.”
The first of the voices can be heard at about the 3:35 mark of the following video, a portion of the speech delivered by a pro-life advocate identified only as Ashley. By the 5:15 mark, however, the droning chant of several voices can be heard clearly:
Cahm explained after the first released video that abortion activists “have been doing this all day, this is just the first time we caught it on video.”
The first video can be seen here:
As WND reported at the time, Democrats killed a pro-life plan by Texas Republicans in a special session of the legislature with a late filibuster aided by a raucous mob that would not allow representatives to record their vote by the legal deadline of midnight.
Then-Gov. Rick Perry, vowing his state would not succumb to mob rule, called another special session immediately to address the proposed abortion limits, and the limits quickly were adopted.