Louisana Abortion Ban Back in Effect for Third Time Since Supreme Court Ruling

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
August 2USshare
Louisana Abortion Ban Back in Effect for Third Time Since Supreme Court Ruling
An ultrasound machine sits next to an exam table in an examination room at Whole Woman's Health of South Bend in South Bend, Ind., on June 19, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Louisiana’s abortion ban, a trigger law, is back in effect for a third time since the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The trigger abortion ban law was passed in 2006, intended to come into effect in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. The law was updated with further exceptions earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, on June 22.

The abortion ban does not have exceptions in the case of incest or rape, but covers most exceptions related to medical reasons, including for saving the life of the mother, as well as “medically futile” pregnancies in cases of fetuses with fatal abnormalities.

Amid a back-and-forth legal dispute, a state appeals court on July 29 granted an appeal from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, and ruled that the near-total abortion ban may take effect in the state, while ongoing legal challenges play out in court. Later that day, 19th Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson sighed a formal order to allow Louisiana to enforce the abortion ban.

“Louisiana’s pro-life trigger laws can be enforced. The First Circuit has ordered Judge Johnson to grant our suspensive appeal,” Landry said on Twitter on July 29 after the appeals court ruled in his favor.

Landry filed the appeal eight days after Johnson issued a preliminary injunction on July 21 that blocked the abortion ban, which had allowed clinics to temporary resume abortions.

Abortion Providers to Leave Louisiana

Louisiana has three abortion providers that have started and stopped operations over the past month amid rulings and temporary restraining orders in the legal battle. Since June 24, 249 abortions have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health, according to data released last week.

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRP) and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP had filed the lawsuit on June 27 in New Orleans on behalf of the Hope Medical Group for Women, a north Louisiana clinic in Shreveport, to challenge Louisiana’s abortion ban. Plaintiffs argue that the law’s provisions are contradictory and unconstitutionally vague.

Joanna Wright, an attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, said it was “disappointing” that the First Circuit ruled on July 29 without giving plaintiffs a chance to oppose the appeal.

“This decision involves a technical reading of a statute involving when a preliminary injunction should be stayed. Judge Johnson’s recent ruling that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case regarding the unconstitutional vagueness of the trigger bans has not even been considered yet by a court of appeal,” she said.

Staff at the clinics in southern Louisiana on Aug. 1 were working to notify 120 patients, scheduled for appointments this week, about the ban being enforced once again. Not only are patients being directed to clinics outside of the state, but Amy Irvin, a spokeswoman for abortion clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, said the clinics are also seeking to relocate to another state with no or fewer abortion restrictions.

Kathaleen Pittman, director of the northern Louisiana clinic, said on Aug. 1: “We are not providing abortions, but we are not closed,” adding, “We are manning the phones and trying to help people navigate care as best we can within the limits of the law as we consider our options.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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