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SCOTUS Declines to Add Abortion-Related Issues to Docket

July 2, 2020, 3:05 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday refused to add two more abortion-related cases to its docket, denying review of an Indiana clinic licensure case and an Ohio medication abortion case where the states challenged abortion providers’ standing to sue on behalf of their clients.

Indiana asked the court to look at a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that allowed Whole Woman’s Health Alliance to open a facility in South Bend, Ind., despite questions about its qualifications for a license.

The state said the appeals court improperly gave the provider “immunity” from its licensing law as a remedy for an as-applied 14th Amendment challenge. It also said a corporation denied a license didn’t have standing to argue the denial deprived its “hypothetical future patients” of their constitutional right to end pregnancies before viability.

Ohio’s petition argued that the case presented the same third-party standing issue the court as June Medical Services v. Russo. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit didn’t question the providers’ standing.

The main question the state presented for review was whether the provider was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees as a prevailing party. The provider won a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing a law that precluded off-label uses of a drug used to induce abortions.

But the federal Food and Drug Administration changed the drug’s label to include the off-label use before a decision on the provider’s request for a permanent injunction was decided, Ohio said.

The Supreme Court in June Medical said providers can sue to protect rights held by their patients.

The cases are Hill v. Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, U.S., No. 19-743, review denied 7/2/20; Yost v. Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region, U.S., No. 19-677, review denied 7/2/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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