Louisiana Supreme Court keeps abortion ban in effect
States have been dealing with a blizzard of legal challenges brought by abortion activists and providers in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 24 that struck down the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade precedent and returned the regulation of abortion to the states.
Since 2006, Louisiana has had a so-called trigger law on the books that took effect when Roe v. Wade was overturned. The law, one of many abortion restrictions enacted in the state in recent years, prohibits abortions except when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. Violations of the law count as felonies and can be punished with 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Louisiana’s abortion law has been ruled on repeatedly by the courts since the U.S. Supreme Court acted. Along the way, various judges blocked the ban, allowing abortions to proceed. One state judge blocked the law on July 21 only to be overruled by a higher court a week later.
But Louisiana’s highest court brought some legal certainty on Aug. 12 when it refused (pdf) an application brought by Shreveport abortion provider June Medical Services LLC, which does business as Hope Medical Group for Women, challenging the state’s law.
Those challenging the law acknowledge the state can forbid abortions but say that the abortion statute is rife with overly vague, sometimes contradictory language.
Only four of the seven justices participated in the decision, which consisted of the three-word sentence, “Writ application denied.” The court did not provide reasons for its decision and no dissents from the ruling were recorded.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, celebrated the court’s decision.
“The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied June Medical’s writ,” he said in a statement after the court ruled.
“Abortion remains illegal in Louisiana. I am pleased with the Court’s decision and will continue fighting to end this legal circus.”
An attorney for June Medical said the legal fight isn’t over.
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