June Medical Services v. Russo
June Medical Services v. Russo is a US Supreme Court decision that found a medically unnecessary requirement that physicians who provide abortion obtain local admitting privileges at a hospital is unconstitutional. The decision follows after the Court in 2016 struck down a nearly identical law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, finding that onerous, unreasonable requirements on physicians and clinicians who provide abortion creates an unconstitutional burden on patients.
ACOG has long asserted that medically unjustified regulation of abortion care imposes burdens on women’s health, rather than improving it. Read the full statement on the Court’s decision from ACOG CEO Maureen Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG.
While we celebrate this ruling, we know that many women continue to face systemic inequities that burden or delay their ability to obtain essential care, and that state legislative efforts to limit access to care are unlikely to abate. ACOG will continue to advocate at all levels to improve our patients’ ability to access quality, essential care.
- Connect with your ACOG Section and District leaders to support their efforts to protect access in the State capitals. If you have questions about legislation in your state or how to get connected with your local leaders, contact [email protected].
- Urge Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a needed backstop against relentless state attempts to curtail evidence-based care. WHPA would create a federal safeguard for physicians and their patients against ideological state restrictions on safe, medically appropriate care. Read more about WHPA.
- Join the conversation: share our posts on Social Media and use #NoSpinJustScience and #MyRightMyDecision
- Use ACOG’s Policy Brief, Hospital Admitting Privilege Mandates Undermine Physician Practice and Unduly Burden Women’s Access to Abortion, to educate colleagues, legislators, and the public about onerous facility requirements.
Overview of the ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo
- The Court ruled that Louisiana Act 620, a law requiring that physicians who provide abortion care must obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed, is unconstitutional. This law was substantively identical to a Texas law that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 2016.
- The ruling also affirmed the long-held principle of third party standing—whether physicians may advocate on behalf of their patients by asserting their patients’ abortion-related constitutional rights in the courts.
- The plurality opinion relied on the expertise of the nation’s medical community, citing the brief ACOG led with 13 major medical organizations, in recognizing that “local admitting-privileges requirements for abortion providers offer no medical benefit and do not meaningfully advance continuity of care.”
- This is a victory for women’s health, in that the Court struck down a law it had already found unconstitutional. That said, while this decision may deter states from pursuing similar facility requirements, it is unlikely that state legislators will slow their pursuit of other medically unnecessary restrictions that impede women’s health care.
- Already, the hundreds of restrictions passed over the past decade have resulted in a patchwork of state laws that impose sometimes insurmountable obstacles to abortion access. These barriers are even more pronounced for many women continue to face systemic inequities that burden or delay their ability to obtain essential care.
Additional Resources from ACOG
- ACOG Statement on June Medical Services v. Russo
- Joint Statement from Women’s Health Groups, Medical Groups on June Medical Services v. Russo
- ACOG et al amicus brief in the US Supreme Court case of June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Gee
- ACOG Executive Board Statement of Policy on Legislative Interference
- ACOG Executive Board Statement of Policy on Abortion
- ACOG Committee Opinion 613: Increasing Access to Abortion
- Facts are Important: Abortion is Healthcare
- ACOG’s Implementing Progress in Abortion Care and Training (IMPACT) Program
- ACOG News Release on Guidelines for Facilities Performing Office-Based Procedures Including Abortion