But in the end, Chief Justice Roberts’s commitment to precedent sank the Louisiana law. “I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health,” he wrote on Monday, “and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today, however, is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.”
“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons,” the chief justice wrote in a concurring opinion that did not adopt Justice Breyer’s reasoning. “Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”
Still, it would be hasty to conclude that Chief Justice Roberts was prepared to strike down other abortion restrictions or that he would vote to sustain the Roe decision, which in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion, should a direct challenge to the ruling reach the court.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, expressed disappointment in Monday’s decision.
“In an unfortunate ruling today,” she said in a statement, “the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of