The U.S. Supreme Court is due on Monday to decide its first major abortion case since 2007, a challenge by abortion providers to a Republican-backed Texas law that imposed strict regulations on their doctors and facilities.
Hundreds of people, including activists on both sides of the dispute, gathered outside the Supreme Court building on a sunny summer day in anticipation of a ruling on an issue that continues to divide Americans as it does people in many countries.
Texas has said its law, passed by a Republican-led legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2013, was aimed at protecting women’s health. The abortion providers have said the regulations are medically unnecessary and intended to shut down clinics. Since the law was passed, the number of abortion clinics in Texas, the second-most-populous U.S. state with about 27 million people, has dropped from 41 to 19.
The justices must decide whether the law, one of a number of statutes enacted in Republican-led states that put restrictions on abortion, placed an undue burden on women exercising their constitutional right to end a pregnancy established in the court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.