SCOTUS Strikes Down Draconian Louisiana Abortion Law

Joanna Estrada
June 30, 2020

Reprinted from Baptist Press (, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The law required abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges, but critics, including national abortion rights groups, say it was created to shut down clinics. The justices found the Louisiana measure was almost identical to a Texas admitting privileges law they struck down in 2016.

In February 2019, the Court blocked the Louisiana law from going into effect, pending a review of the case.

Now that the Supreme Court has twice invalidated laws about admitting privileges, maybe abortion opponents will give up on this ruse.

The National Right to Life Committee is "extremely disappointed", said its president, Carol Tobias.

"States have legitimate interests in regulating any medical procedure - including abortions - to protect patient safety", Ms McEnany said.

However, there was plenty of evidence that getting admitting privileges can be hard. (Louisiana's are among the most restrictive.) And that was heartening at a time when abortion rights are still under attack.

"Yeah, this is a frustrating decision especially because the chief justice just four years ago ruled that this type of a law was, in fact, constitutional".

A concurrence by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. provided the fifth vote to strike down the Louisiana law Monday, which requires doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Roberts did not sign onto the court's decision by a four-person plurality, but he cast the deciding vote by filing an opinion that concurred in its judgment.

The court struck down a similar policy in Texas in 2016, the opinion noted. The Louisiana law burdens women seeking pre-viability abortions to the same extent as the Texas law, according to factual findings that are not clearly erroneous.

But these rulings are unlikely to stop what Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose lawyers argued the Louisiana case, calls an "avalanche" of anti-abortion laws.

Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Breyer in the opinion.

Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh dissented from the majority.

Severino pointed out that, in this case, Roberts and the court "seem to have made an exception for abortion". "Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled".

This then, in turn, constitutes an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to seek an abortion, they said.

Missouri has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

"In an unfortunate ruling today, the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of unborn children", said a statement from spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany. The case could also fire up the President's supporters ahead of November's Presidential election. When Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018, Trump nominated Kavanaugh.

Collins cast a deciding confirmation vote for Kavanaugh in October 2018. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. In 2019, Gov. Mike Parson signed a law criminalizing abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.

The name of the case is June Medical Services v. Russo.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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