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07.18.13 - This suit challenged a new Louisiana law which expands the State’s authority to suspend or revoke the licenses of outpatient abortion facilities, thus restricting access to care for Louisiana women.
Filing date: 09/20/2010
State: Louisiana, USA
Plaintiff(s): Bossier City Medical Suite, Inc.; Choice Inc. of Texas d/b/a Causeway Medical Clinic; Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Inc.; Midtown Medical, LLC; Women’s Health Care Center, Inc.; and John Doe, M.D.
Center Attorney(s): Bonnie Scott Jones
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: William E. Rittenberg of Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips in New Orleans; J. Alexander Lawrence, Jamie A. Levitt, and team at Morrison Foerster, NYC
Summary: During the 2010 legislative session, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 490, which gives the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) authority to immediately revoke the license of outpatient abortion facilities. The lawsuit challenged this law and the health department’s new practice of denying abortion facilities the opportunity to correct alleged deficiencies before the department moves to revoke or suspend the facility’s license. The new law and the “zero tolerance policy” deprive abortion facilities of many of the basic due process protections given to the other licensed healthcare facilities in the state.
The new statute and zero tolerance policy are unconstitutional because they subject abortion providers to vague standards, encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, deny equal protection, and have the purpose and effect of imposing an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
On February 23, 2011, the district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ case as not ripe. Plaintiffs appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 17, 2012, the 5th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the case.