Abortion doctors may only see a patient once, with no follow up, she observed.
"If abortion is a surgical procedure, why are we not treating it with the same weight, with the same responsibilities that we do all other surgical procedures?"
And contrary to what abortion advocates say, "it's not an inherently safe procedure," she said, pointing to statistics indicating that over 400 women have died from abortion since it was legalized in 1973. And many more women – including Nona Ellington – have suffered complications, miscarriages, and psychological disorders directly relating to an abortion, Murphy said.
Inside the Court, the oral arguments focused on whether the law's intent was to place an "undue burden" on the right of women to have an abortion, as prohibited in the Court's 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The law puts "heavy burdens on abortion access that are not medically justified," said Stephanie Toti, challenging the Texas legislation before the Court. She pointed to clinics closing throughout the state in anticipation of the law's enactment or right after it was enacted.
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller argued that the bill was passed in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal, and had the intent of preventing future cases like his clinic, which fell so far below proper medical standards that a woman died from neglect.
In the first lawsuit filed against the law, "Planned Parenthood admitted that over 210 women annually are hospitalized because of abortion complications," he added.
There is no reason to expect a Gosnell scenario in Texas, Justice Elena Kagan argued, as the state allows for constant inspections of clinics. Justice Samuel Alito countered that the scenario is already taking place, with amicus briefs in the case showing clinics cited for "appalling" health violations.
Alito questioned whether the law directly resulted in the closure of abortion clinics, bringing up other possible factors like cuts to state family planning funds. Kagan argued that the legislation was responsible for the closings, noting that clinics opened when the law was stayed by a court and closed when it was subsequently re-enacted.
The regulations also enforce "basic safety" like wider hallways to allow quick transport of women on a stretcher to an ambulance in case of a medical emergency, Alito noted.
"This is one of the lowest-risk procedures," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insisted of early-stage abortions, suggested that the regulations were unnecessary. Other procedures like colonoscopies pose much more risk and yet are not regulated like abortions, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said.
(Story continues below)
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After hearing oral arguments in the case March 2, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling later this year. The recent unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia leaves a hole in the ideologically-divided body of justices, leaving the remaining eight members of the bench to issue the decision.
Still, pro-life advocates such as Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, hope that the court will side with the Texas law for the sake of women.
Day said in a statement that the regulations "bring oversight to an industry that generally lacks protections, just as Democrats did with the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, when factory owners vouched that factories were safe places to work."
"The Texas law is a model of Democratic values, putting the protection and safety of women over corporate interests," she added.
Adelaide Mena was the DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency until 2017 and is a 2012 graduate of Princeton University.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.