U.S. Supreme Court to consider changes to abortion clinics

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COLUMBIA - A case that could rule the state of Missouri's current abortion laws to be unconstitutional is scheduled to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.

Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt will consider whether it is constitutional to have targeted regulation of abortion providers known as TRAP laws.

These laws require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as any other surgical center, and the doctor must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed.

"It's protection of them and making sure the surgical center is up to code so no one has a bad experience to where someone can get an infection or potentially die," Missouri State Senator Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, said.

"It doesn’t really matter whether their doctor has admitting privileges, they’re (the hospital) still going to save you," Planned Parenthood patient advocate Jackie Casteel said. "It’s an unnecessary law."

Casteel will speak at a rally Tuesday in Washington, D.C. in support of striking down the laws.

"We want to share our stories at this rally that's going to be at the Supreme Court, and represent Missouri...and the other four to six states that have a lot of these TRAP laws to say, 'We don't want this to be the case in the rest of the country.'"

While the Supreme Court case originated in the state of Texas, abortion laws in Texas are similar to laws in Missouri and would essentially nullify them if it was ruled in favor of Whole Woman's Health.

"I think it's our job as legislators to make sure that when a person goes in for surgery that those surgery centers are up to code," Kraus said. "I think everybody wants a healthy, clean environment... if youre going to go in for some minimal surgery, you look for your surgical center to have a certain standard of cleanliness."

It is unknown at this time when the Supreme Court will make a decision on the case. In the event of a tie, the previously highest ruling on the case would stand, which permitted the law that closed several abortion clinics in Texas.