The Supreme Court ruled Nov. 19 that Texas can continue to enforce a law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. Opponents to the law say it will effectively close about a third of the state's clinics that provide abortions.
The Texas case is just the latest in a heated debate, with both sides targeting the courts as a way to expand or restrict abortion rights. USA TODAY gives you a quick guide to some of the key abortion cases to follow in the months ahead.
1) HOSPITAL ADMITTING PRIVILEGES
The Texas law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. In effect, the law stops abortions in one-third of the state's licensed health centers. In October, the law was blocked by a U.S. district court from going into effect while a lawsuit was in process. However, a federal appeals court a few days later reinstated the hospital admitting requirements ahead of arguments on the merits of the lawsuit, which are expected to occur in January. The Supreme Court in November upheld that ruling and held that the requirement that doctors have hospital admitting requirements will remain in effect while the lawsuit is on appeal.
2) ABORTION BAN
The Supreme Court could take up a case about an Arizona law banning abortions after 18 weeks post-fertilization, unless there's a medical emergency. A federal appeals court struck down the law, pointing to previous Supreme Court rulings that say states cannot prohibit abortions before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb — generally considered 24 weeks. The state of Arizona has asked the high court to review the case. Nine states ban abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think-tank.
3) MANDATORY COUNSELING
A South Dakota law would require a woman to wait 72 hours during business days before getting an abortion and visit a pregnancy crisis center that discourages abortions. The waiting period is in effect, but the visit to the pregnancy crisis center is not.
4) NO PROTESTERS OUTSIDE ABORTION CLINIC
One case the Supreme Court has decided to take up is about a Massachusetts law that sets a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. All protests and demonstrations are prohibited inside the zone while the facility is open.
The high court refused to hear a case involving an overturned Oklahoma law requiring ultrasounds before an abortion. A federal court has preliminarily blocked a North Carolina requirement for ultrasounds before an abortion.