Though HB2 is not in full effect, it is clear that the law would be devastating if fully implemented. The law has two major components, one focused on doctors and one focused on clinics. The law requires any doctor who performs abortions to have “admitting privileges”—the ability to admit a patient into a hospital—at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. The law requires clinics to meet hundreds of specifications to become “ambulatory surgical centers” (ASCs), basically mini-hospitals. Early in the argument, Stephanie Toti, the lawyer representing the doctors and clinics challenging the law, explained that each of these requirements would individually be a major blow to abortion access. You’ll hear Ms. Toti argue that each part of the law is independently unconstitutional due the number of clinics they would close. Then Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito question the evidence for the number of clinic closures caused by the law.
After several more questions from Justice Alito, Justice Kagan put a fine point on the evidence that the law caused clinics to close, noting that there was essentially a “perfect controlled experiment” that illustrates the law’s effects.