U.S. Supreme Court takes up major Louisiana abortion case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday (October 4) agreed to take up a major abortion case from Louisiana.

And abortion-rights advocates fear the outcome could legalize a rollback in abortion access nationwide.

The Louisiana law passed in 2014 required that doctors performing abortion obtain what are known as "admitting privileges" at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

An abortion provider sued to block the law, saying it would effectively force two of the state's three clinics to close.

The Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas requirement in 2016 when conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the four liberal justices to defend abortion rights.

But Kennedy retired last year, and Republican President Donald Trump tapped Brett Kavanaugh to fill his seat, steering the court further to the right.

A number of Republican-led states this year passed laws dramatically limiting abortion, including so-called "heartbeat bills," prompting legal challenges from rights groups.

Anti-abortion activists are hoping the more-conservative Supreme Court will scale back or even overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

But in February, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberals to block the Louisiana abortion law from going into effect while litigation continued.

That gave abortion-rights activists some hope that Roberts may not be willing to reverse Roe's 45-year precedent.