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FEATURING RUPALI SHARMA – Reproductive rights advocates have not been used to scoring victories for a very long time. That is why Monday’s Supreme Court decision to void one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation in Texas, came as such a surprise.

The court, in a 5-3 vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote, struck down Texas’ onerous requirement for doctors performing abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. “Nearby” in this context meant within 30 miles. The cleverly written state law was cast as one that was meant to protect women but that effectively shuttered a majority of the state’s abortion providers.

The repercussions of this ruling are very significant. Within a day, three other states with similar laws were struck down – Alabama, Mississippi and Wisconsin. The ruling is considered the most important to emanate from the Supreme Court in a quarter of a century.

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Rupali Sharma, legal fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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