Law, Regulation & Medicine: A Tricky Balancing Act

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 Pro-life supporter Marcinda Haedge recites the Rosary before a group of pro-choice demonstrators from the National Organization for Women in front of the US Supreme Court. January 22, 2004
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Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled that a Texas law restricting abortion can stand. The law requires abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, effectively forcing a third of the state's abortion clinics to close. 

While abortion may be the most controversial medical procedure regulated by the state, it's certainly not the only one.

When it comes to medicine, there is a tricky balance between public protection and privacy. Questions of when a legislature should intervene to protect the public, and when decisions are best left to a doctor and patient, have been politically fraught territory for decades. 

Jessie Hill, a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University, is an expert on the law, regulation, medicine, and the difficult decisions in between. She joins The Takeaway to examine the history of medical regulation by the state, starting in the early twentieth century, and the constitutional questions raised by laws like the one passed in Texas.