Chances for new abortion case rise

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Monday declined for now to jump back into the long-running legal fight over abortion, but a flood of new state restrictions has increased the chances that the issue soon will be back before the justices.

The court stepped back from a dispute over a now-dead Oklahoma law to limit drug-induced abortions. But a new filing asks the justices to block new Texas restrictions that have dramatically reduced the availability of abortions in Texas.

Oklahoma also is challenging its state high court’s rejection of a law mandating an ultrasound exam before an abortion can be performed, and Arizona, backed by 16 other states, wants the justices to let it enforce a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except for medical emergencies.

On both sides of the issue, people say it is only a matter of time before the court steps in to indicate how far states may go in regulating abortion without crossing the line the court first set out in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that announced a woman’s right to an abortion and modified in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.