Wednesday, 21 August, 2019


Supreme Court Blocks Law Regulating Louisiana Abortion Doctors

Supreme Court Supreme Court Blocks Law Regulating Louisiana Abortion Doctors
Bennie Garza | 09 February, 2019, 08:14

The state law, passed in 2014, would have required doctors who provide abortion services to be certified to practise at a nearby hospital. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with more liberal justices in moving to stay the law. But even if this win holds, the case shows the plan of attack that the justices, and right-wing legal activists, could use to neuter Roe v. Wade, cautions law professor Leah Litman in a new Washington Post editorial. He said the closing of clinics would not impose driving distances as long as those in Texas, and he said that it was easier to get hospital admitting privileges in Louisiana. "By contrast, if the three doctors can not obtain admitting privileges, then one or two of the three clinics would not be able to continue providing abortions". Similarly, the 5th Circuit acknowledged that it did not have any evidence that the Louisiana admitting-privileges requirement would help the health or safety of any women, even though it created a burden on providers and their patients.

The court on a 5-4 vote granted an emergency application by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women to block the Republican-backed law from going into effect while litigation continues.

The court's four most conservative members would have allowed the law to take effect. "If a law does not amount to an unconstitutional burden unless it does something as dramatic as close 20 clinics in a geographic area as large as Texas, nearly every law would be constitutional".

"Unfortunately, the supreme court today put enforcement of this pro-woman law on hold for the time being", said Landry.

The Supreme Court recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion and legalized the procedure nationwide in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Louisiana appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and a three-judge panel voted 2 to 1 to allow the state law to go into effect.

In his dissent, newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the court ruled prematurely. That was in 2016, before the confirmations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Court.

"I urge the Supreme Court to act quickly in this matter, so Louisiana may move forward".

"The true issue in determining undue burden shouldn't be whether the four doctors who now perform abortions can keep on doing so", writes Feldman. Thursday's order from the Supreme Court offers nothing as to the merits of the Louisiana law, which means that for all we know, Roberts' opinion on the constitutionality of such measures hasn't changed at all from his 2016 Whole Woman's Health vote. The difference between then and now is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who cast the decisive fifth vote in the 2016 Texas case, retired last June and has now been replaced by Trump appointee Kavanaugh. But it has never gone into effect. Nonetheless, Smith maintained the the Louisiana law did not impose "an undue burden" on women seeking abortions.

Brian Fallon, the director of Demand Justice, a liberal group that opposed the Kavanaugh nomination, said the group will launch a digital ad buy of more than $10,000 next week in ME to inform voters of how Collins' vote for Kavanaugh helped lead to the ruling Thursday. Roberts issued a dissent at the time. That will come later, when the Court decides if it will take the case. Roberts may be content to rule on behalf of conservative causes, but as chief justice, he really has tried to stay out of the political spotlight, sometimes to the ire of conservatives. Current cases are asking courts to recognize the unborn as persons.

The Supreme Court is now likely to take up the clinic's appeal of a lower court ruling allowing the law, with a decision on the merits possible in 2020, just months before the USA presidential election.

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