The School of Law building is pictured on March 3, 2015, in downtown Minneapolis during a late winter snowfall.
Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas

March 2 SCOTUS Case Includes St. Thomas Prolife Center Brief

On March 2, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case challenging the constitutionality of a Texas law regulating abortion, some of the questions posed by the justices may be the result of scholarship and advocacy by a University of St. Thomas School of Law professor and four students.

Professor Teresa Collett, director of the Prolife Center at St. Thomas, worked with four law students to author a brief for the case on the unique nature of abortion. Students Bridget Duffus, Tim Garvey, Marcy Kreimier and Michelle Rioux helped represent 22 physicians, who, based on their experience in rural and emergency healthcare, support the Texas law requiring abortion providers to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.

The brief argues that abortion is unique among medical procedures because: doctors performing abortions often do not reside or maintain practices in the communities where the abortions are performed; as many as two-thirds of women do not schedule or attend follow-up visits following their abortions; and many women do not reveal their abortions when providing their medical histories to doctors and other healthcare providers. Each point provides a rational basis, the brief argues, for Texas’ efforts to require that abortions occur only in facilities where the risk of complications is minimized and resources for responding to those complications are immediately on-hand.

The Prolife Center at the University of St. Thomas annually provides eight to 12 students the opportunity to serve as lawyers in simulated cases regarding the constitutionality of various abortion laws. This allows students the opportunity to learn the arguments of both pro-life and abortion-rights advocates. Selected students are given the chance to assist in drafting briefs in important abortion cases, typically on behalf of medical professionals and pro-life organizations filing as amicus curiae.

“The opportunity to help draft briefs in these cases provides students like me the formation and training to answer Pope John Paul II’s call to ‘stand up for life,’ by being a voice for other prolife advocates, like these physicians,” Kreimier said.

Read the brief here.