Court Rejects Louisiana’s Second Attempt to Stop Abortion Lawsuit

(PRESS RELEASE) A Louisiana federal court has rejected the second effort by the state to shut down a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The case challenges Louisiana’s clinic licensing law and other medically unnecessary requirements designed to burden clinics, which have forced most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. The court’s ruling will allow the lawsuit to move forward on all claims. The court also denied the state’s unusual request to skip the district court and seek an immediate appeal to the Fifth Circuit.

In the court order, which was issued on Friday, March 29, Chief Judge Brian Jackson writes that “Approximately 312,000 reproductive-aged women reside in the State of Louisiana. Only three medical clinics offer abortion services to this entire population, one of the lowest ratios in the United States. Over the past several years, the State of Louisiana has enacted an increasing number of laws aimed at regulating abortion providers, thereby substantially impacting a woman’s access to what the United States Supreme Court has determined to be a Constitutionally guaranteed right.”

Statement from Jenny Ma, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“When it comes to access to abortion, Louisiana ranks among the worst states in the country. That’s not surprising since Louisiana politicians have systematically adopted laws that are harmful to its citizens, that have no scientific or medical basis, and only have the intent and effect of placing barriers to abortion care—a safe and essential component of basic healthcare.

This decision is a step towards remedying the marginalization, ostracization, and impediment of patients in Louisiana who seek abortion care and the healthcare providers who serve them. Together with our clients, the Center looks forward to continuing our fight in court on behalf of Louisiana women and their right to access safe, legal abortion care.”

This challenge was filed by Jenny Ma and Caroline Sacerdote from the Center for Reproductive Rights; Shannon Rose Selden of the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; and Larry Samuel of Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips LLC, on behalf of Plaintiff Hope Medical Group for Women and its physicians. There are nearly one million women of reproductive age in Louisiana and only three clinics providing safe and legal abortion in the state.

In a separate case, the Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging a Louisiana law that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law would shutdown some of the last remaining abortion clinics in the state. In February, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the law from taking effect so that the Center can ask the court to hear the case. The Center will submit a petition for certiorari later this month.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kelly Krause; kkrause@reprorights.org; 585-919-9966.