Supreme Court Abortion Agenda May Crystallize in Coming Weeks

Supreme Court Abortion Agenda May Crystallize in Coming Weeks


It may be years before the U.S. Supreme Court says anything about Alabama’s new abortion ban. But the justices could start leaving clues in a matter of weeks.

The court on Monday deferred action on two less sweeping abortion disputes from Indiana though it will have another chance to step in next week. In one case, Indiana is seeking to bar abortions motivated by the risk of a genetic disorder and require clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains. In the other, the state aims to reinstate a requirement that an ultrasound be performed at least 18 hours before an abortion.

The appeals are part of a growing list of Supreme Court cases likely to give an early indication of how quickly the court’s conservative justices — particularly Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Brett Kavanaugh — are prepared to cut back abortion protections.

Any case granted review in the coming weeks would be heard in the term that starts in October and be decided in the thick of the 2020 election campaign, when President Donald Trump will be seeking a second term. Restricting abortions is a top policy goal for the conservative and evangelical voters who helped elect Trump, and the president’s authority to nominate Supreme Court justices has proven to be a potent political motivator for Republicans.

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