The Supreme Court declined to hear a case that would ban abortions past six weeks of pregnancy in North Dakota -- a state with only one abortion clinic open.
The ban was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court last year. By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court stood by the ruling that the six-week ban is unconstitutional and cannot be law.
The Supreme Court is setting the stage for the landmark Whole Woman's Health v. Cole case, which will determine the availability of abortion services for millions of women.
That case revolves around laws in Texas requiring clinics to have hospital-admitting privileges and meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers. These requirements would cause all but 10 abortion clinics to be shut down in Texas.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear that case last fall and will argue it on March 2. The decision will be announced in June.
Last week, the Supreme Court also declined to hear a case from Arkansas involving a law that would have banned abortions past 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In a statement about the North Dakota case, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said,
We continue to look to the nation's highest court to protect the rights, health and dignity of millions of women and now strike down Texas' clinic shutdown law.