Ruth Bader Ginsburg Shuts Down Outrageous Louisiana Abortion Bill

by Cassandra Stone
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sarah Silbiger/Getty

RBG completely dismantled every point of this abortion access bill

A small abortion clinic located in Louisiana is challenging a 2014 state law that requires doctors performing abortions to get admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of the cinic. The case went to the Supreme Court this week, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg challenging every point of the restrictive abortion bill like the master of law she is.

The bill, known as Act 620, demands admitting privileges for abortion providers so that an outpatient doctor has the right to admit patients to a hospital and then treat them if an emergency occurs. In addition to this barrier, a state-mandated 24-hour waiting period also makes accessing abortion services at the clinic more difficult.

Ginsburg, who has served almost 30 years on the Supreme Court and battled cancer four separate times, supports abortion rights. Now that the Supreme Court is Republican-dominated, she’s got her work cut out for her in terms of preventing the Court from rolling back rights that have been in place for decades. Luckily, Ginsburg does not back down.

Per CNN, RBG “persistently and systematically dissected each point” in the Louisiana case. She referenced a case the Court decided four years ago when the majority struck down a similar law out of Texas.

“There is not even a plausible conflict in this case because this court already held that admitting privileges served no medical benefit,” she said. Many women come from different states to seek abortion care at the Louisiana clinic in question, which is an important point.

Ginsburg noted that most of these abortions “don’t have any complications.” She noted that if a complication were to arise, it would likely happen once the woman returned home after the fact. “If she needs a hospital, it’s certainly not going to be the one near the clinic,” Ginsburg said. “If the woman has a problem, it will be her local hospital that she will need to go to for the care, not something 30 miles from the clinic, which does not have a necessary relationship to where she lives.”

This is what happens when a bunch of men who have never needed and will never need an abortion decide they “know” best and want to restrict healthcare for people who do need them.

Ginsburg reminded the court that abortion providers who do not perform obstetrics and gynecology wouldn’t qualify for admitting privileges because their patients rarely go to the hospital. Elizabeth Murrill, the Solicitor General of Louisiana, stood up to defend the law. RBG wasn’t having it.

“Most of the people who get abortions never have any need to go to a hospital, isn’t that so?” she asked. “You don’t dispute,” Ginsburg said, “that among medical procedures, first-trimester abortion is among the safest, far safer than childbirth.”


She also argued that the 30-mile requirement makes no sense, because, AGAIN, if a woman has a complication after an abortion (whether surgically-induced or orally), she’d go to her hospital, the one near her home, should complications occur after the fact.

The court remains divided, but one thing remains absolutely true: Restrictive abortion laws like this one have a disproportionate impact on women who do not have the financial or vehicular means to travel longer distances to obtain the procedure. It’s unconstitutional to impose these kinds of laws.