(REVISED 8.10.2020) This lawsuit was filed in response to Louisiana's attempt to close abortion clinics in the state, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as justification. After Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry targeted abortion clinics for closure, the Center asked a federal court to immediately block the state’s attempts to shutter Hope Medical Group for Women and other abortion clinics.
Leading medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have opposed these attempts to restrict abortion during the pandemic. Both groups filed an amicus brief in the case challenging Texas’s COVID-19 abortion ban, stating that interpreting Health Department Notices like Louisiana has “is likely to increase, rather than decrease, burdens on hospitals and use of PPE. At the same time, it will severely impair essential health care for women, and it will place doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in an untenable position by criminalizing necessary medical care.”
The Center’s lawsuit argues that although Hope has been in full compliance with the Health Department’s Notice, Louisiana’s recent actions and application of the Notice would deny Louisianans’ access to essential, time-sensitive healthcare and violate their constitutional right to choose abortion prior to viability, backed by nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent protecting a woman’s right to bodily integrity and autonomy under the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit also argues that—contrary to the state’s claims—forcing women to carry a pregnancy to birth or travel out of state for abortion care in the middle of this current crisis is not only cruel and unconstitutional but will also undermine public health, by increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and expending more medical resources.
Plaintiff(s): Hope Medical Group for Women
We filed our complaint in federal court on April 13, 2020, asking the court to enjoin the State from attempting to close down Louisiana’s abortion clinics or functionally ban abortions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; we filed our request for a temporary restraining order on April 14. A new Executive Order took effect in the state on April 27. On April 30, we reached an agreement with the State ensuring our client would be able to continue providing abortion care. This case is now concluded.