Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

United States Supreme Court

June 27, 2016

WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH, ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
JOHN HELLERSTEDT, COMMISSIONER, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, ET AL.

          Argued March 2, 2016

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

A "State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion ... is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient." Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 150. But "a statute which, while furthering [a] valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman's choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends, " Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 877 (plurality opinion), and "[unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right, " id., at 878.
In 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 2 (H. B. 2), which contains the two provisions challenged here. The "admitting-privileges requirement" provides that a "physician performing or inducing an abortion . . . must, on the date [of service], have active admitting privileges at a hospital . . . located not further than 30 miles from the" abortion facility. The "surgical-center requirement" requires an "abortion facility" to meet the "minimum standards . . . for ambulatory surgical centers" under Texas law. Before the law took effect, a group of Texas abortion providers filed the Abbott case, in which they lost a facial challenge to the constitutionality of the ad-mitting-privileges provision. After the law went into effect, petitioners, another group of abortion providers (including some Abbott plaintiffs), filed this suit, claiming that both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center provisions violated the Fourteenth Amendment, as interpreted in Casey. They sought injunctions preventing enforcement of the admitting-privileges provision as applied to physicians at one abortion facility in McAllen and one in El Paso and prohibiting enforcement of the surgical-center provision throughout Texas.
Based on the parties' stipulations, expert depositions, and expert and other trial testimony, the District Court made extensive findings, including, but not limited to: as the admitting-privileges requirement began to be enforced, the number of facilities providing abortions dropped in half, from about 40 to about 20; this decrease in geographical distribution means that the number of women of reproductive age living more than 50 miles from a clinic has doubled, the number living more than 100 miles away has increased by 150%, the number living more than 150 miles away by more than 350%, and the number living more than 200 miles away by about 2, 800%; the number of facilities would drop to seven or eight if the surgical-center provision took effect, and those remaining facilities would see a significant increase in patient traffic; facilities would remain only in five metropolitan areas; before H. B. 2's passage, abortion was an extremely safe procedure with very low rates of complications and virtually no deaths; it was also safer than many more common procedures not subject to the same level of regulation; and the cost of compliance with the surgical-center requirement would most likely exceed $1.5 million to $3 million per clinic. The court enjoined enforcement of the provisions, holding that the surgical-center requirement imposed an undue burden on the right of women in Texas to seek previability abortions; that, together with that requirement, the admitting-privileges requirement imposed an undue burden in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and West Texas; and that the provisions together created an "impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion."
The Fifth Circuit reversed in significant part. It concluded that res judicata barred the District Court from holding the admitting-privileges requirement unconstitutional statewide and that res judicata also barred the challenge to the surgical-center provision. Reasoning that a law is "constitutional if (1) it does not have the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and (2) it is reasonably related to ... a legitimate state interest, " the court found that both requirements were rationally related to a compelling state interest in protecting women's health.

Held:

1. Petitioners' constitutional claims are not barred by res judicata. Pp. 10-18.
(a) Res judicata neither bars petitioners' challenges to the admitting-privileges requirement nor prevents the Court from awarding facial relief. The fact that several petitioners had previously brought the unsuccessful facial challenge in Abbott does not mean that claim preclusion, the relevant aspect of res judicata, applies. Claim preclusion prohibits "successive litigation of the very same claim, " New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 748, but petitioners' as-applied postenforcement challenge and the Abbott plaintiffs' facial preenforcement challenge do not present the same claim. Changed circumstances showing that a constitutional harm is concrete may give rise to a new claim. Abbott rested upon facts and evidence presented before enforcement of the admitting-privileges requirement began, when it was unclear how clinics would be affected. This case rests upon later, concrete factual developments that occurred once enforcement started and a significant number of clinics closed.
Res judicata also does not preclude facial relief here. In addition to requesting as-applied relief, petitioners asked for other appropriate relief, and their evidence and arguments convinced the District Court of the provision's unconstitutionality across the board. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(c) provides that a "final judgment should grant the relief to which each party is entitled, even if the party has not demanded that relief in its pleadings, " and this Court has held that if the arguments and evidence show that a statutory provision is unconstitutional on its face, an injunction prohibiting its enforcement is "proper, " Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 558 U.S. 310, 333. Pp. 10-15.
(b) Claim preclusion also does not bar petitioners' challenge to the surgical-center requirement. In concluding that petitioners should have raised this claim in Abbott, the Fifth Circuit did not take account of the fact that the surgical-center provision and the admitting-privileges provision are separate provisions with two different and independent regulatory requirements. Challenges to distinct regulatory requirements are ordinarily treated as distinct claims. Moreover, the surgical-center provision's implementing regulations had not even been promulgated at the time Abbott was filed, and the relevant factual circumstances changed between the two suits. Pp. 16-18.
2. Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution. Pp. 19-39.
(a) The Fifth Circuit's standard of review may be read to imply that a district court should not consider the existence or nonexistence of medical benefits when deciding the undue burden question, but Casey requires courts to consider the burdens a law imposes on abortion access together with the benefits those laws confer, see 505 U.S., at 887-898. The Fifth Circuit's test also mistakenly equates the judicial review applicable to the regulation of a constitutionally protected personal liberty with the less strict review applicable to, e.g., economic legislation. And the court's requirement that legislatures resolve questions of medical uncertainty is inconsistent with this Court's case law, which has placed considerable weight upon evidence and argument presented in judicial proceedings when determining the constitutionality of laws regulating abortion procedures. See id., at 888-894. Explicit legislative findings must be considered, but there were no such findings in H. B. 2. The District Court applied the correct legal standard here, considering the evidence in the record- including expert evidence-and then weighing the asserted benefits against the burdens. Pp. 19-21.
(b) The record contains adequate legal and factual support for the District Court's conclusion that the admitting-privileges requirement imposes an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose. The requirement's purpose is to help ensure that women have easy access to a hospital should complications arise during an abortion procedure, but the District Court, relying on evidence showing extremely low rates of serious complications before H. B. 2's passage, found no significant health-related problem for the new law to cure. The State's record evidence, in contrast, does not show how the new law advanced the State's legitimate interest in protecting women's health when compared to the prior law, which required providers to have a "working arrangement" with doctors who had admitting privileges. At the same time, the record evidence indicates that the requirement places a "substantial obstacle" in a woman's path to abortion. The dramatic drop in the number of clinics means fewer doctors, longer waiting times, and increased crowding. It also means a significant increase in the distance women of reproductive age live from an abortion clinic. Increased driving distances do not always constitute an "undue burden, " but they are an additional burden, which, when taken together with others caused by the closings, and when viewed in light of the virtual absence of any health benefit, help support the District Court's "undue burden" conclusion. Pp. 21-28.
(c) The surgical-center requirement also provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so. Before this requirement was enacted, Texas law required abortion facilities to meet a host of health and safety requirements that were policed by inspections and enforced through administrative, civil, and criminal penalties. Record evidence shows that the new provision imposes a number of additional requirements that are generally unnecessary in the abortion clinic context; that it provides no benefit when complications arise in the context of a medical abortion, which would generally occur after a patient has left the facility; that abortions taking place in abortion facilities are safer than common procedures that occur in outside clinics not subject to Texas' surgical-center requirements; and that Texas has waived no part of the requirement for any abortion clinics as it has done for nearly two-thirds of other covered facilities. This evidence, along with the absence of any contrary evidence, supports the District Court's conclusions, including its ultimate legal conclusion that requirement is not necessary. At the same time, the record provides adequate evidentiary support for the District Court's conclusion that the requirement places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion. The court found that it "strained credulity" to think that the seven or eight abortion facilities would be able to meet the demand. The Fifth Circuit discounted expert witness Dr. Grossman's testimony that the surgical-center requirement would cause the number of abortions performed by each remaining clinic to increase by a factor of about 5. But an expert may testify in the "form of an opinion" as long as that opinion rests upon "sufficient facts or data" and "reliable principles and methods." Fed. Rule Evid. 702. Here, Dr. Grossman's opinion rested upon his participation, together with other university researchers, in research tracking the number of facilities providing abortion services, using information from, among other things, the state health services department and other public sources. The District Court acted within its legal authority in finding his testimony admissible. Common sense also suggests that a physical facility that satisfies a certain physical demand will generally be unable to meet five times that demand without expanding physically or otherwise incurring significant costs. And Texas presented no evidence at trial suggesting that expansion was possible. Finally, the District Court's finding that a currently licensed abortion facility would have to incur considerable costs to meet the surgical-center requirements supports the conclusion that more surgical centers will not soon fill the gap left by closed facilities. Pp. 28-36.
(d) Texas' three additional arguments are unpersuasive. Pp. 36- 39.

790 F.3d 563 and 598, reversed and remanded.

          BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GlNSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. GlNSBURG, J., filed a concurring opinion. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, J., joined.

          OPINION

          BREYER JUSTICE.

         In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 878 (1992), a plurality of the Court concluded that there "exists" an "undue burden" on a woman's right to decide to have an abortion, and consequently a provision of law is constitutionally invalid, if the "purpose or effect" of the provision "is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability." (Emphasis added.) The plurality added that "[unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right." Ibid.

         We must here decide whether two provisions of Texas' House Bill 2 violate the Federal Constitution as interpreted in Casey. The first provision, which we shall call the "admitting-privileges requirement, " says that

"[a] physician performing or inducing an abortion . . . must, on the date the abortion is performed or induced, have active admitting privileges at a hospital that ... is located not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced." Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §171.0031(a) (West Cum. Supp. 2015).

         This provision amended Texas law that had previously required an abortion facility to maintain a written protocol "for managing medical emergencies and the transfer of patients requiring further emergency care to a hospital." 38 Tex. Reg. 6546 (2013).

         The second provision, which we shall call the "surgical-center requirement, " says that

"the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards adopted under [the Texas Health and Safety Code section] for ambulatory surgical centers." Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §245.010(a).

         We conclude that neither of these provisions confers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, Casey, supra, at 878 (plurality opinion), and each violates the Federal Constitution. Amdt. 14, §1.

         I

         A

         In July 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 2 (H. B. 2 or Act). In September (before the new law took effect), a group of Texas abortion providers filed an action in Federal District Court seeking facial invalidation of the law's admitting-privileges provision. In late October, the District Court granted the injunction. Planned Parenthood of Greater Tex. Surgical Health Servs. v. Abbott, 951 F.Supp.2d 891, 901 (WD Tex. 2013). But three days later, the Fifth Circuit vacated the injunction, thereby permitting the provision to take effect. Planned Parenthood of Greater Tex. Surgical Health Servs. v. Abbott, 734 F.3d 406, 419 (2013).

         The Fifth Circuit subsequently upheld the provision, and set forth its reasons in an opinion released late the following March. In that opinion, the Fifth Circuit pointed to evidence introduced in the District Court the previous October. It noted that Texas had offered evidence designed to show that the admitting-privileges requirement "will reduce the delay in treatment and decrease health risk for abortion patients with critical complications, " and that it would "'screen out' untrained or incompetent abortion providers." Planned Parenthood of Greater Tex. Surgical Health Servs. v. Abbott, 748 F.3d 583, 592 (2014) (Abbott). The opinion also explained that the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence "that abortion practitioners will likely be unable to comply with the privileges requirement." Id., at 598. The court said that all "of the major Texas cities, including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio, " would "continue to have multiple clinics where many physicians will have or obtain hospital admitting privileges." Ibid. The Abbott plaintiffs did not file a petition for certiorari in this Court.

         B

         On April 6, one week after the Fifth Circuit's decision, petitioners, a group of abortion providers (many of whom were plaintiffs in the previous lawsuit), filed the present lawsuit in Federal District Court. They sought an injunction preventing enforcement of the admitting-privileges provision as applied to physicians at two abortion facilities, one operated by Whole Woman's Health in McAllen and the other operated by Nova Health Systems in El Paso. They also sought an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the surgical-center provision anywhere in Texas. They claimed that the admitting-privileges provision and the surgical-center provision violated the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, as interpreted in Casey.

         The District Court subsequently received stipulations from the parties and depositions from the parties' experts. The court conducted a 4-day bench trial. It heard, among other testimony, the opinions from expert witnesses for both sides. On the basis of the stipulations, depositions, and testimony, that court reached the following conclusions:

1. Of Texas' population of more than 25 million people, "approximately 5.4 million" are "women" of "reproductive age, " living within a geographical area of "nearly 280, 000 square miles." Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey, 46 F.Supp.3d 673, 681 (2014); see App. 244.
2. "In recent years, the number of abortions reported in Texas has stayed fairly consistent at approximately 15-16% of the reported pregnancy rate, for a total number of approximately 60, 000-72, 000 legal abortions performed annually." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 681; see App. 238.
3. Prior to the enactment of H. B. 2, there were more than 40 licensed abortion facilities in Texas, which "number dropped by almost half leading up to and in the wake of enforcement of the admitting-privileges requirement that went into effect in late-October 2013." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 681; App. 228-231.
4. If the surgical-center provision were allowed to take effect, the number of abortion facilities, after September 1, 2014, would be reduced further, so that "only seven facilities and a potential eighth will exist in Texas." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 680; App. 182-183.
5. Abortion facilities "will remain only in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan region." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 681; App. 229-230. These include "one facility in Austin, two in Dallas, one in Fort Worth, two in Houston, and either one or two in San Antonio." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 680; App. 229-230.
6. "Based on historical data pertaining to Texas's average number of abortions, and assuming perfectly equal distribution among the remaining seven or eight providers, this would result in each facility serving between 7, 500 and 10, 000 patients per year. Accounting for the seasonal variations in pregnancy rates and a slightly unequal distribution of patients at each clinic, it is foreseeable that over 1, 200 women per month could be vying for counseling, appointments, and follow-up visits at some of these facilities." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 682; cf. App. 238.
7. The suggestion "that these seven or eight providers could meet the demand of the entire state stretches credulity." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 682; see App. 238.
8. "Between November 1, 2012 and May 1, 2014, " that is, before and after enforcement of the admitting-privileges requirement, "the decrease in geographical distribution of abortion facilities" has meant that the number of women of reproductive age living more than 50 miles from a clinic has doubled (from 800, 000 to over 1.6 million); those living more than 100 miles has increased by 150% (from 400, 000 to 1 million); those living more than 150 miles has increased by more than 350% (from 86, 000 to 400, 000); and those living more than 200 miles has increased by about 2, 800% (from 10, 000 to 290, 000). After September 2014, should the surgical-center requirement go into effect, the number of women of reproductive age living significant distances from an abortion provider will increase as follows: 2 million women of reproductive age will live more than 50 miles from an abortion provider; 1.3 million will live more than 100 miles from an abortion provider; 900, 000 will live more than 150 miles from an abortion provider; and 750, 000 more than 200 miles from an abortion provider. 46 F.Supp.3d, at 681-682; App. 238-242.
9. The "two requirements erect a particularly high barrier for poor, rural, or disadvantaged women." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 683; cf. App. 363-370.
10. "The great weight of evidence demonstrates that, before the act's passage, abortion in Texas was extremely safe with particularly low rates of serious complications and virtually no deaths occurring on account of the procedure." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 684; see, e.g., App. 257-259, 538; see also id., at 200-202, 253-257.
11. "Abortion, as regulated by the State before the enactment of House Bill 2, has been shown to be much safer, in terms of minor and serious complications, than many common medical procedures not subject to such intense regulation and scrutiny." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 684; see, e.g., App. 223-224 (describing risks in colonoscopies), 254 (discussing risks in vasectomy and endometrial biopsy, among others), 275-277 (discussing complication rate in plastic surgery).
12. "Additionally, risks are not appreciably lowered for patients who undergo abortions at ambulatory surgical centers as compared to nonsurgical-center facilities." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 684; App. 202-206, 257-259.
13. "[W]omen will not obtain better care or experience more frequent positive outcomes at an ambulatory surgical center as compared to a previously licensed facility." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 684; App. 202-206.
14. "[T]here are 433 licensed ambulatory surgical centers in Texas, " of which "336 . . . are apparently either 'grandfathered' or enjo[y] the benefit of a waiver of some or all" of the surgical-center "requirements." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 680-681; App. 184.
15. The "cost of coming into compliance" with the surgical-center requirement "for existing clinics is significant, " "undisputedly approaching] 1 million dollars, " and "most likely exceeding] 1.5 million dollars, " with "[s]ome . . . clinics" unable to "comply due to physical size limitations of their sites." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 682. The "cost of acquiring land and constructing a new compliant clinic will likely exceed three million dollars." Ibid.

         On the basis of these and other related findings, the District Court determined that the surgical-center requirement "imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previability abortion, " and that the "admitting-privileges requirement, ... in conjunction with the ambulatory-surgical-center requirement, imposes an undue burden on the right of women in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and West Texas to seek a previability abortion." Id., at 687. The District Court concluded that the "two provisions" would cause "the closing of almost all abortion clinics in Texas that were operating legally in the fall of 2013, " and thereby create a constitutionally "impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion" by "restricting access to previously available legal facilities." Id., at 687-688. On August 29, 2014, the court enjoined the enforcement of the two provisions. Ibid.

         C

         On October 2, 2014, at Texas' request, the Court of Appeals stayed the District Court's injunction. Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey, 769 F.3d 285, 305. Within the next two weeks, this Court vacated the Court of Appeals' stay (in substantial part) thereby leaving in effect the District Court's injunction against enforcement of the surgical-center provision and its injunction against enforcement of the admitting-privileges requirement as applied to the McAllen and El Paso clinics. Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey, 574 U.S. ___ (2014). The Court of Appeals then heard Texas' appeal.

         On June 9, 2015, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court on the merits. With minor exceptions, it found both provisions constitutional and allowed them to take effect. Whole Women's Health v. Cole, 790 F.3d 563, 567 (per curiam), modified, 790 F.3d 598 (CA5 2015). Because the Court of Appeals' decision rests upon alternative grounds and fact-related considerations, we set forth its basic reasoning in some detail. The Court of Appeals concluded:

• The District Court was wrong to hold the admitting-privileges requirement unconstitutional because (except for the clinics in McAllen and El Paso) the providers had not asked them to do so, and principles of res judicata barred relief. Id., at 580-583.
• Because the providers could have brought their constitutional challenge to the surgical-center provision in their earlier lawsuit, principles of res judicata also barred that claim. Id., at 581-583.
• In any event, a state law "regulating previability abortion is constitutional if: (1) it does not have the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus; and (2) it is reasonably related to (or designed to further) a legitimate state interest." Id., at 572.
• "[B]oth the admitting privileges requirement and" the surgical-center requirement "were rationally related to a legitimate state interest, " namely, "rais[ing] the standard and quality of care for women seeking abortions and . . . protecting] the health and welfare of women seeking abortions." Id., at 584.
• The "[p]laintiffs" failed "to proffer competent evidence contradicting the legislature's statement of a legitimate purpose." Id., at 585.
• "[T]he district court erred by substituting its own judgment [as to the provisions' effects] for that of the legislature, albeit ... in the name of the undue burden inquiry." Id., at 587.
• Holding the provisions unconstitutional on their face is improper because the plaintiffs had failed to show that either of the provisions "imposes an undue burden on a large fraction of women." Id., at 590.
• The District Court erred in finding that, if the surgical-center requirement takes effect, there will be too few abortion providers in Texas to meet the demand. That factual determination was based upon the finding of one of plaintiffs' expert witnesses (Dr. Grossman) that abortion providers in Texas "'will not be able to go from providing approximately 14, 000 abortions annually, as they currently are, to providing the 60, 000 to 70, 000 abortions that are done each year in Texas once all'" of the clinics failing to meet the surgical-center requirement "'are forced to close.'" Id., at 589-590. But Dr. Grossman's opinion is (in the Court of Appeals' view) "'ipse dixit'"; the "'record lacks any actual evidence regarding the current or future capacity of the eight clinics'"; and there is no "evidence in the record that" the providers that currently meet the surgical-center requirement "are operating at full capacity or that they cannot increase capacity." Ibid.

         For these and related reasons, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's holding that the admitting-privileges requirement is unconstitutional and its holding that the surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals upheld in part the District Court's more specific holding that the requirements are unconstitutional as applied to the McAllen facility and Dr. Lynn (a doctor at that facility), but it reversed the District Court's holding that the surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional as applied to the facility in El Paso. In respect to this last claim, the Court of Appeals said that women in El Paso wishing to have an abortion could use abortion providers in nearby New Mexico.

         II

         Before turning to the constitutional question, we must consider the Court of Appeals' procedural grounds for holding that (but for the challenge to the provisions of H. B. 2 as applied to McAllen and El Paso) petitioners were barred from bringing their constitutional challenges.

         A

         Claim Preclusion-Admitting-Privileges Requirement

         The Court of Appeals held that there could be no facial challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement. Because several of the petitioners here had previously brought an unsuccessful facial challenge to that requirement (namely, Abbott, 748 F.3d, at 605; see supra, at 2-3), the Court of Appeals thought that "the principle of res judicata" applied. 790 F.3d, at 581. The Court of Appeals also held that res judicata prevented the District Court from granting facial relief to petitioners, concluding that it was improper to "facially invalidate] the admitting privileges requirement, " because to do so would "gran[t] more relief than anyone requested or briefed." Id., at 580. We hold that res judicata neither bars petitioners' challenges to the admitting-privileges requirement nor prevents us from awarding facial relief.

         For one thing, to the extent that the Court of Appeals concluded that the principle of res judicata bars any facial challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement, see ibid., the court misconstrued petitioners' claims. Petitioners did not bring a facial challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement in this case but instead challenged that requirement as applied to the clinics in McAllen and El Paso. The question is whether res judicata bars petitioners' particular as-applied claims. On this point, the Court of Appeals concluded that res judicata was no bar, see 790 F.3d, at 592, and we agree.

         The doctrine of claim preclusion (the here-relevant aspect of res judicata) prohibits "successive litigation of the very same claim" by the same parties. New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 748 (2001). Petitioners' postenforcement as-applied challenge is not "the very same claim" as their preenforcement facial challenge. The Restatement of Judgments notes that development of new material facts can mean that a new case and an otherwise similar previous case do not present the same claim. See Restatement (Second) of Judgments §24, Comment k (1980) ("Material operative facts occurring after the decision of an action with respect to the same subject matter may in themselves, or taken in conjunction with the antecedent facts, comprise a transaction which may be made the basis of a second action not precluded by the first"); cf. id., §20(2) ("A valid and final personal judgment for the defendant, which rests on the prematurity of the action or on the plaintiff's failure to satisfy a precondition to suit, does not bar another action by the plaintiff instituted after the claim has matured, or the precondition has been satisfied"); id., §20, Comment k (discussing relationship of this rule with §24, Comment ƒ). The Courts of Appeals have used similar rules to determine the contours of a new claim for purposes of preclusion. See, e.g., Morgan v. Covington, 648 F.3d 172, 178 (CA3 2011) ("[R]es judicata does not bar claims that are predicated on events that postdate the filing of the initial complaint"); Ellis v. CCA of Tenn. LLC, 650 F.3d 640, 652 (CA7 2011); Bank of N.Y.v. First Millennium, Inc., 607 F.3d 905, 919 (CA2 2010); Smith v. Potter, 513 F.3d 781, 783 (CA7 2008); Rawe v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 462 F.3d 521, 529 (CA6 2006); Manning v. Auburn, 953 F.2d 1355, 1360 (CA111992). The Restatement adds that, where "important human values-such as the lawfulness of continuing personal disability or restraint-are at stake, even a slight change of circumstances may afford a sufficient basis for concluding that a second action may be brought." §24, Comment ƒ; see Bucklew v. Lombardi, 783 F.3d 1120, 1127 (CA8 2015) (allowing as-applied challenge to execution method to proceed notwithstanding prior facial challenge).

         We find this approach persuasive. Imagine a group of prisoners who claim that they are being forced to drink contaminated water. These prisoners file suit against the facility where they are incarcerated. If at first their suit is dismissed because a court does not believe that the harm would be severe enough to be unconstitutional, it would make no sense to prevent the same prisoners from bringing a later suit if time and experience eventually showed that prisoners were dying from contaminated water. Such circumstances would give rise to a new claim that the prisoners' treatment violates the Constitution. Factual developments may show that constitutional harm, which seemed too remote or speculative to afford relief at the time of an earlier suit, was in fact indisputable. In our view, such changed circumstances will give rise to a new constitutional claim. This approach is sensible, and it is consistent with our precedent. See Abie State Bank v. Bryan, 282 U.S. 765, 772 (1931) (where "suit was brought immediately upon the enactment of the law, " "decision sustaining the law cannot be regarded as precluding a subsequent suit for the purpose of testing [its] validity . . . in the lights of the later actual experience"); cf. Lawlor v. National Screen Service Corp., 349 U.S. 322, 328 (1955) (judgment that "precludes recovery on claims arising prior to its entry" nonetheless "cannot be given the effect of extinguishing claims which did not even then exist"); United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 153 (1938) ("[T]he constitutionality of a statute predicated upon the existence of a particular state of facts may be challenged by showing to the court that those facts have ceased to exist"); Nashville, C. & St. L. R. Co. v. Walters, 294 U.S. 405, 415 (1935) ("A statute valid as to one set of facts may be invalid as to another. A statute valid when enacted may become invalid by change in the conditions to which it is applied" (footnote omitted)); Third Nat. Bank of Louisville v. Stone 174 U.S. 432, 434 (1899) ("A question cannot be held to have been adjudged before an issue on the subject could possibly have arisen"). JUSTICE Alito's dissenting opinion is simply wrong that changed circumstances showing that a challenged law has an unconstitutional effect cannot give rise to a new claim. See post, at 14-15 (hereinafter the dissent).

         Changed circumstances of this kind are why the claim presented in Abbott is not the same claim as petitioners' claim here. The claims in both Abbott and the present case involve "important human values." Restatement (Second) of Judgments §24, Comment/. We are concerned with H. B. 2's "effect ... on women seeking abortions." Post, at 30 (ALITO, J., dissenting). And that effect has changed dramatically since petitioners filed their first lawsuit. Abbott rested on facts and evidence presented to the District Court in October 2013. 748 F.3d, at 599, n. 14 (declining to "consider any arguments" based on "developments since the conclusion of the bench trial"). Petitioners' claim in this case rests in significant part upon later, concrete factual developments. Those developments matter. The Abbott plaintiffs brought their facial challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement prior to its enforcement-before many abortion clinics had closed and while it was still unclear how many clinics would be affected. Here, petitioners bring an as-applied challenge to the requirement after its enforcement-and after a large number of clinics have in fact closed. The postenforcement consequences of H. B. 2 were unknowable before it went into effect. The Abbott court itself recognized that "[l]ater as-applied challenges can always deal with subsequent, concrete constitutional issues." Id., at 589. And the Court of Appeals in this case properly decided that new evidence presented by petitioners had given rise to a new claim and that petitioners' as-applied challenges are not precluded. See 790 F.3d, at 591 ("We now know with certainty that the non-[surgical-center] abortion facilities have actually closed and physicians have been unable to obtain admitting privileges after diligent effort").

         When individuals claim that a particular statute will produce serious constitutionally relevant adverse consequences before they have occurred-and when the courts doubt their likely occurrence-the factual difference that those adverse consequences have in fact occurred can make all the difference. Compare the Fifth Circuit's opinion in the earlier case, Abbott, supra, at 598 ("All of the major Texas cities . . . continue to have multiple clinics where many physicians will have or obtain hospital admitting privileges"), with the facts found in this case, 46 F.Supp.3d, at 680 (the two provisions will leave Texas with seven or eight clinics). The challenge brought in this case and the one in Abbott are not the "very same claim, " and the doctrine of claim preclusion consequently does not bar a new challenge to the constitutionality of the admitting-privileges requirement. New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S., at 748. That the litigants in Abbott did not seek review in this Court, as the dissent suggests they should have done, see post, at 10, does not prevent them from seeking review of new claims that have arisen after Abbott was decided. In sum, the Restatement, cases from the Courts of Appeals, our own precedent, and simple logic combine to convince us that res judicata does not bar this claim.

         The Court of Appeals also concluded that the award of facial relief was precluded by principles of res judicata. 790 F.3d, at 581. The court concluded that the District Court should not have "granted more relief than anyone requested or briefed." Id., at 580. But in addition to asking for as-applied relief, petitioners asked for "such other and further relief as the Court may deem just, proper, and equitable." App. 167. Their evidence and arguments convinced the District Court that the provision was unconstitutional across the board. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that (with an exception not relevant here) a "final judgment should grant the relief to which each party is entitled, even if the party has not demanded that relief in its pleadings." Rule 54(c). And we have held that, if the arguments and evidence show that a statutory provision is unconstitutional on its face, an injunction prohibiting its enforcement is "proper." Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 558 U.S. 310, 333 (2010); see ibid, (in "the exercise of its judicial responsibility" it may be "necessary ... for the Court to consider the facial validity" of a statute, even though a facial challenge was not brought); cf. Fallon, As-Applied and Facial Challenges and Third-Party Standing, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 1321, 1339 (2000) ("[0]nce a case is brought, no general categorical line bars a court from making broader pronouncements of invalidity in properly 'as-applied' cases"). Nothing prevents this Court from awarding facial relief as the appropriate remedy for petitioners' as-applied claims.

         B

         Claim Preclusion-Surgical-Center Requirement

         The Court of Appeals also held that claim preclusion barred petitioners from contending that the surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional. 790 F.3d, at 583. Although it recognized that petitioners did not bring this claim in Abbott, it believed that they should have done so. The court explained that petitioners' constitutional challenge to the surgical-center requirement and the challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement mounted in Abbott

"arise from the same 'transactio[n] or series of connected transactions.' . . . The challenges involve the same parties and abortion facilities; the challenges are governed by the same legal standards; the provisions at issue were enacted at the same time as part of the same act; the provisions were motivated by a common purpose; the provisions are administered by the same state officials; and the challenges form a convenient trial unit because they rely on a common nucleus of operative facts." 790 F.3d, at 581.

         For all these reasons, the Court of Appeals held petitioners' challenge to H. B. 2's surgical-center requirement was precluded.

         The Court of Appeals failed, however, to take account of meaningful differences. The surgical-center provision and the admitting-privileges provision are separate, distinct provisions of H. B. 2. They set forth two different, independent requirements with different enforcement dates. This Court has never suggested that challenges to two different statutory provisions that serve two different functions must be brought in a single suit. And lower courts normally treat challenges to distinct regulatory requirements as "separate claims, " even when they are part of one overarching "[government regulatory scheme." 18 C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure §4408, p. 52 (2d ed. 2002, Supp. 2015); see Hamilton's Bogarts, Inc. v. Michigan, 501 F.3d 644, 650 (CA6 2007).

         That approach makes sense. The opposite approach adopted by the Court of Appeals would require treating every statutory enactment as a single transaction which a given party would only be able to challenge one time, in one lawsuit, in order to avoid the effects of claim preclusion. Such a rule would encourage a kitchen-sink approach to any litigation challenging the validity of statutes. That outcome is less than optimal-not only for litigants, but for courts.

         There are other good reasons why petitioners should not have had to bring their challenge to the surgical-center provision at the same time they brought their first suit. The statute gave the Texas Department of State Health Services authority to make rules implementing the surgical-center requirement. H. B. 2, § 11(a), App. to Pet. for Cert. 201a. At the time petitioners filed Abbott, that state agency had not yet issued any such rules. Cf. EPA v. Brown, 431 U.S. 99, 104 (1977) (per curiam); 13B Wright, supra, §3532.6, at 629 (3d ed. 2008) (most courts will not "undertake review before rules have been adopted"); Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. EPA, 859 F.2d 156, 204 (CADC 1988).

         Further, petitioners might well have expected that those rules when issued would contain provisions grandfathering some then-existing abortion facilities and granting full or partial waivers to others. After all, more than three quarters of non-abortion-related surgical centers had benefited from that kind of provision. See 46 F.Supp.3d, at 680-681 (336 of 433 existing Texas surgical centers have been grandfathered or otherwise enjoy a waiver of some of the surgical-center requirements); see also App. 299-302, 443-447, 468-469.

         Finally, the relevant factual circumstances changed between Abbott and the present lawsuit, as we previously described. See supra, at 14-15.

         The dissent musters only one counterargument. According to the dissent, if statutory provisions "impos[e] the same kind of burden ... on the same kind of right" and have mutually reinforcing effects, "it is evident that" they are "part of the same transaction" and must be challenged together. Post, at 20, 22. But for the word "evident, " the dissent points to no support for this conclusion, and we find it unconvincing. Statutes are often voluminous, with many related, yet distinct, provisions. Plaintiffs, in order to preserve their claims, need not challenge each such provision of, say, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the National Labor Relations Act, the Clean Water Act, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in their first lawsuit.

         For all of these reasons, we hold that the petitioners did not have to bring their challenge to the surgical-center provision when they challenged the admitting-privileges provision in Abbott. We accordingly hold that the doctrine of claim preclusion does not prevent them from bringing that challenge now.

         * * *

         In sum, in our view, none of petitioners' claims are barred by res judicata. For all of the reasons described above, we conclude that the Court of Appeals' procedural ruling was incorrect. Cf. Brief for Professors Michael Dorf et al. as Amici Curiae 22 (professors in civil procedure from Cornell Law School, New York University School of Law, Columbia Law School, University of Chicago Law School, and Duke University Law School) (maintaining that "the panel's procedural ruling" was "clearly incorrect"). We consequently proceed to consider the merits of petitioners' claims.

         III

         Undue Burden-Legal Standard

         We begin with the standard, as described in Casey. We recognize that the "State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient." Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 150 (1973). But, we added, "a statute which, while furthering [a] valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman's choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends." Casey, 505 U.S., at 877 (plurality opinion). Moreover, "[unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right." Id., at 878.

         The Court of Appeals wrote that a state law is "constitutional if: (1) it does not have the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus; and (2) it is reasonably related to (or designed to further) a legitimate state interest." 790 F.3d, at 572. The Court of Appeals went on to hold that "the district court erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature" when it conducted its "undue burden inquiry, " in part because "medical uncertainty underlying a statute is for resolution by legislatures, not the courts." Id., at 587 (citing Gonzales v. Car-hart, 550 U.S. 124, 163 (2007)).

         The Court of Appeals' articulation of the relevant standard is incorrect. The first part of the Court of Appeals' test may be read to imply that a district court should not consider the existence or nonexistence of medical benefits when considering whether a regulation of abortion constitutes an undue burden. The rule announced in Casey, however, requires that courts consider the burdens a law imposes on abortion access together with the benefits those laws confer. See 505 U.S., at 887-898 (opinion of the Court) (performing this balancing with respect to a spousal notification provision); id., at 899-901 (joint opinion of O'Connor, KENNEDY, and Souter, JJ.) (same balancing with respect to a parental notification provision). And the second part of the test is wrong to equate the judicial review applicable to the regulation of a constitutionally protected personal liberty with the less strict review applicable where, for example, economic legislation is at issue. See, e.g., Williamson v. Lee Optical of Okla., Inc., 348 U.S. 483, 491 (1955). The Court of Appeals' approach simply does not match the standard that this Court laid out in Casey, which asks courts to consider whether any burden imposed on abortion access is "undue."

         The statement that legislatures, and not courts, must resolve questions of medical uncertainty is also inconsistent with this Court's case law. Instead, the Court, when determining the constitutionality of laws regulating abortion procedures, has placed considerable weight upon evidence and argument presented in judicial proceedings. In Casey, for example, we relied heavily on the District Court's factual findings and the research-based submissions of amici in declaring a portion of the law at issue unconstitutional. 505 U.S., at 888-894 (opinion of the Court) (discussing evidence related to the prevalence of spousal abuse in determining that a spousal notification provision erected an undue burden to abortion access). And, in Gonzales the Court, while pointing out that we must review legislative "factfinding under a deferential standard, " added that we must not "place dispositive weight" on those "findings." 550 U.S., at 165. Gonzales went on to point out that the "Court retains an independent constitutional duty to review factual findings where constitutional rights are at stake." Ibid, (emphasis added). Although there we upheld a statute regulating abortion, we did not do so solely on the basis of legislative findings explicitly set forth in the statute, noting that "evidence presented in the District Courts contradicts" some of the legislative findings. Id., at 166. In these circumstances, we said, "[u]ncritical deference to Congress' factual findings ... is inappropriate." Ibid.

         Unlike in Gonzales, the relevant statute here does not set forth any legislative findings. Rather, one is left to infer that the legislature sought to further a constitutionally acceptable objective (namely, protecting women's health). Id., at 149-150. For a district court to give significant weight to evidence in the judicial record in these circumstances is consistent with this Court's case law. As we shall describe, the District Court did so here. It did not simply substitute its own judgment for that of the legislature. It considered the evidence in the record-including expert evidence, presented in stipulations, depositions, and testimony. It then weighed the asserted benefits against the burdens. We hold that, in so doing, the District Court applied the correct legal standard.

         IV ]

         Undue Burden-Admitting-Privileges Requirement

         Turning to the lower courts' evaluation of the evidence, we first consider the admitting-privileges requirement. Before the enactment of H. B. 2, doctors who provided abortions were required to "have admitting privileges or have a working arrangement with a physician(s) who has admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to ensure the necessary back up for medical complications." Tex. Admin. Code, tit. 25, §139.56 (2009) (emphasis added). The new law changed this requirement by requiring that a "physician performing or inducing an abortion . . . must, on the date the abortion is performed or induced, have active admitting privileges at a hospital that ... is located not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced." Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §171.0031(a). The District Court held that the legislative change imposed an "undue burden" on a woman's right to have an abortion. We conclude that there is adequate legal and factual support for the District Court's conclusion.

         The purpose of the admitting-privileges requirement is to help ensure that women have easy access to a hospital should complications arise during an abortion procedure. Brief for Respondents 32-37. But the District Court found that it brought about no such health-related benefit. The court found that "[t]he great weight of evidence demonstrates that, before the act's passage, abortion in Texas was extremely safe with particularly low rates of serious complications and virtually no deaths occurring on account of the procedure." 46 F.Supp.3d, at 684. Thus, there was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure.

         The evidence upon which the court based this conclusion included, among other things:

• A collection of at least five peer-reviewed studies on abortion complications in the first trimester, showing that the highest rate of major complications-including those complications requiring hospital admission-was less than one-quarter of 1%. See App. 269-270.
• Figures in three peer-reviewed studies showing that the highest complication rate found for the much rarer second trimester abortion was less than one-half of 1% (0.45% or about 1 out of about 200). Id., at 270.
• Expert testimony to the effect that complications rarely require hospital admission, much less immediate transfer to a hospital from an outpatient clinic. Id., at 266-267 (citing a study of complications occurring within six weeks after 54, 911 abortions that had been paid for by the fee-for-service California Medicaid Program finding that the incidence of complications was 2.1%, the incidence of complications requiring hospital admission was 0.23%, and that of the 54, 911 abortion patients included in the study, only 15 required immediate transfer to the hospital on the day of the abortion).
• Expert testimony stating that "it is extremely unlikely that a patient will experience a serious complication at the clinic that requires emergent hospitalization" and "in the rare case in which [one does], the quality of care that the patient receives is not affected by whether the abortion provider has admitting privileges at the hospital." Id., at 381.
• Expert testimony stating that in respect to surgical abortion patients who do suffer complications requiring hospitalization, most of these complications occur in the days after the abortion, not on the spot. See id., at 382; see also id., at 267.
• Expert testimony stating that a delay before the onset of complications is also expected for medical abortions, as "abortifacient drugs take time to exert their effects, and thus the abortion itself almost always occurs after the patient has left the abortion facility." Id., at 278.
• Some experts added that, if a patient needs a hospital in the day or week following her abortion, she will likely seek medical attention at the hospital ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.