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Supreme Court puts Louisiana admitting privileges law on hold

by | Feb 8, 2019

On a 5-4 vote Court grants procedural stay

Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch Would Have Allowed the Law to Go Into Effect

Louisiana State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), who authored the admitting privileges law.

On Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court granted a Shreveport, Louisiana abortion facility’s emergency stay request, further delaying Louisiana’s attempt to enforce Act 620. The 2014 law requires abortion physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Thursday’s order from the high court means the law will be stayed pending full briefing on the question of whether the Supreme Court should grant certiorari for a full review of the case.

Attorneys for the Shreveport abortion facility asked the Supreme Court to issue the emergency stay in January, just days before the law was set to take effect. The stay comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the law last fall, then refused the abortion industry’s attempt to have the full court rehear the case. The abortion attorneys have indicated their intention to file a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking the Supreme Court’s full review of the law.

“While we are disappointed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act will not go into law immediately, we do look forward to the potential of the law going into effect later this year after the Court either denies the petition for certiorari, or upon a ruling in Louisiana’s favor after full briefing on the merits,” Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director for Louisiana Right to Life, said. “The abortion industry, over the past four decades, has fought against every common-sense health standard. This is just another example of the extreme lengths the abortion industry pursues to protect abortion-on-demand.”

Dorinda Bordlee of Bioethics Defense Fund and a consulting attorney to Louisiana Right to Life explained, “While the Texas law, like the Louisiana law, required physicians at abortion facilities to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, the Texas law also required abortion facilities to meet strict ambulatory surgical center requirements. Louisiana’s law does not include the ambulatory surgical center requirement, and the facts of Louisiana’s different geography and demographics necessitate a different result.”

Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), a Louisiana attorney who authored the admitting privileges law, stated: “We encourage the Supreme Court to either deny the abortion industry’s petition, or, if certiorari is granted, that the Court overturn, alter, or clarify the Hellerstedt decision, allowing a state to enforce its duly enacted laws aimed at protecting the health and safety of its citizens. Abortion has known medical risks, and the women of this state who are often coerced into abortion deserve to have the same standard of care required for other surgical procedures.”