Nearly three years after Texas lawmakers approved a far-reaching set of abortion restrictions, the U.S. Supreme Court examined the controversial law Wednesday in a hearing that could affect women’s health across the country for years to come.
As thousands of activists on both sides of the abortion issue rallied outside the courthouse, the justices took turns probing state lawyers defending the law known as House Bill 2 and the abortion providers who challenged it as unconstitutional shortly after its approval in the summer of 2013.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, representing the federal government, also argued against the law’s contested regulations, which require abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion facilities to comply with the expensive standards of hospital-style surgical centers.
There were no major surprises at the oral arguments, which lasted 90 minutes — 30 minutes longer than scheduled.