(REVISED 8.19.2020) This lawsuit challenges seven abortion restrictions passed in Louisiana in 2016—including a measure which would triple the state's mandatory delay for women seeking abortion from 24 to 72 hours and a measure which bans the most common method of second trimester abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights' lawsuit also challenges:
- a measure which could effectively ban medication abortion by imposing impossible requirements on women and their physicians when a woman completes her medication abortion outside of a doctor's office,
- a measure which polices a woman's reason for needing to end a pregnancy by banning abortion in cases of genetic abnormalities,
- a measure which further limits the availability of abortion by restricting which types of physicians may offer abortion care,
- a measure which further stigmatizes abortion care by not only prohibiting any state or local government agency from entering into any funding agreement with any abortion provider, but also prohibiting state or local government officials from contracting with any third party that contracts with an abortion proivder,
- a measure which imposes a prison term of hard labor for receiving reimbursement covering expenses related to carrying out the wishes of a woman who—following an abortion—wants to donate fetal tissue for medical research, notably, the measure does not impose the same restriction if a woman experiences a miscarriage.
Louisiana passed the highest number of measures restricting women's access to abortion this year and the Center is challenging every single restriction in this lawsuit, arguing that each is unconstitutional on its own and that collectively the bills impermissibly burden women seeking access to abortion in Louisiana. This unprecedented wave of new restrictions adds to the many obstacles that Louisiana women already face when they have made the decision to end a pregnancy, including a 24 hour mandatory delay, a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and a Texas-style clinic shutdown law which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital—a measure that remains blocked because of an order from the U.S. Supreme Court obtained by the Center in March 2016. In June 2016, the Supreme Court struck down Texas\' clinic shutdown law as unconstitutional in Whole Woman's Health v Hellerstedt—the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Court in more than two decades.
Plaintiff(s): Hope Medical Group for Women and Bossier City Medical Suite
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: William E. Rittenberg at Rittenberg, Samuel, and Phillips, LLC and attorneys at Morrison &, Foerster
The Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on July 1, 2016 challenging all seven of the new abortion restrictions passed by the state of Louisiana in 2016. The laws were scheduled to take effect on August 1, however, under an agreement between the Plaintiffs and the State the enforcement of the laws has been delayed. On December 16, we filed an amended complaint in light of additional regulations enacted by the State.
The State then filed several motions to dismiss the case. Following briefing and oral arguments, on November 16, 2017, the trial court ruled largely in the Plaintiffs' favor, allowing almost all of the claims to proceed.
On November 18, 2019, the State filed an emergency mandamus petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asking the appellate court to unseal confidential information about our clients to include in their briefing at the U.S. Supreme Court in another case (the Center's challenge to a different Louisiana abortion restriction, June Medical Services v. Russo). On November 25, the district court issued an order denying the relief the State had sought while the petition was pending, and the Fifth Circuit then denied the State’s mandamus petition on mootness grounds two days later. On November 29, the State filed an emergency appeal of the district court’s order, which was denied on December 17. The case is now in discovery.