Town Halls

Protecting Mother and Child

Protecting Mother and Child


In our first tele-town hall after Justice Scalia's passing, Dr. John C. Eastman, Founding Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, his guests discuss the Texas law that captured the nation’s attention when state legislator Wendy Davis and her pink sneakers took to the Texas Senate floor for an 11-hour filibuster. That measure, eventually passed as House Bill 2, was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Perry in 2013. It requires that a physician performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital and sets the health and safety standards for abortion clinics at the same level as those for an ambulatory surgical center.

Opponents of the law argue it will close 75% of abortion clinics in the state. The state argues that the law is intended to protect women’s health and that abortion services will still be available.

The precedent at issue is Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) in which the Court held that a state may impose restrictions on a woman’s right to abortion so long as the regulation does not impose an “undue burden” on the mother. If the law creates a “substantial obstacle” to obtaining an abortion, the law will be struck down. The Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence authored an amicus brief in support of the state.

Dr. Eastman is joined by Teresa Stanton Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law and Robin Fretwell Wilson of the University of Illinois College of Law to present both sides of the legal argument in this case. Prof. Collett has a long history of writing and speaking on pro-life issues, including authoring an amicus brief in this case on behalf of Physicians with Experience Treating Women in Rural or Emergency Settings. Similarly, Professor Wilson has specialized in family law, health law, and bioethics. She is the author of seven books, numerous law review articles, and has worked on behalf of state law reform efforts, recently helping Utah state lawmakers pass anti-discrimination legislation that balances religious liberty and LGBT rights.

Dr. Eastman is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at Chapman University Fowler School of Law. He served as a law clerk with Justice Clarence Thomas in 1996-97. Dr. Eastman currently serves as the chairman for the National Organization for Marriage.