It’s one of the biggest blows to the pro-life movement since Roe vs. Wade.
In the court’s largest abortion case in nearly a quarter century, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics early Monday.
The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that protested the regulations as a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation’s second-most populous state.
Justice Stephen Breyer’s majority opinion for the court held that the regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman’s right to an abortion.
Texas had argued that its 2013 law and subsequent regulations were needed to protect women’s health. The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.
Breyer wrote that “the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”
Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Breyer.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The 5-3 vote, experts say, proves how important the 2016 presidential election has become. The court needs at least two more conservative justices before there is any chance of it upholding meaningful pro-life legislation.
There is currently one vacancy on the Supreme Court, after the death of Antonin Scalia. And the next president is expected to have the opportunity to make additional appointments as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.