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Federal District Court Continues to Block Louisiana’s Texas-Style Clinic Shutdown Law

Law would have shuttered all but one provider of safe and legal abortion in the state. Ruling comes over two months after Supreme Court agrees to review Texas’ clinic shutdown law.

(PRESS RELEASE) A federal district court judge today continued to block a Texas-style measure which would have shuttered all but one safe and legal abortion provider in Louisiana.  The ruling comes more than a year after the same court blocked enforcement of the law and ensures Louisiana women will continue to have access to safe and legal abortion while the litigation continues.

The law—which was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal in June 2014 and forces any doctor who provides abortion care to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital—threatens to shutter all but one of the five clinics in the state, leaving thousands of women hundreds of miles from a safe and legal abortion provider.

“Today’s victory guarantees Louisiana women will continue to have access to critical health care services in the face of relentless political attacks on their health and rights,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

“Clinic shutdown laws like those in Louisiana and Texas threaten to leave women with a patchwork of rights across the US that is troublingly reminiscent of the days before Roe v Wade.  Politicians cannot be allowed to sneak around the constitution and rob women of their ability to obtain safe and legal abortion.

“We are confident that courts across the country will continue to strike down these sham measures as clear violations of women’s health, rights, and dignity.” 

Today’s ruling comes just over two months after the Supreme Court agreed to review Texas’ clinic shutdown law— a measure that has already shuttered half of the abortion providers in Texas, and is poised to leave the nation’s second-largest state with 10 or fewer abortion clinics.

Medical experts confirm that legal abortion care in the U.S. is extremely safe, with less than a quarter of 1 percent of patients experiencing a major complication. Furthermore, privileges can be very difficult to obtain due to individual hospital policies or biases against abortion providers for reasons not related to the doctors’ qualifications. Earlier this month, the nation’s leading medical experts--including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as organizations representing pediatricians, nurses, family physicians, osteopaths, hospitalists and public health specialists—united in opposition to clinic shutdown laws like Louisiana’s in amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to reject Texas’ clinic shutdown law.

Clinic shutdown laws have swept the South in recent years, threatening to further devastate abortion access in a region already facing limited availability of reproductive health care services.  The last abortion clinic in Mississippi is awaiting a decision on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will review its state’s clinic shutdown law while courts have blocked similar measures in OklahomaTennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin and Kansas. 

Ilene Jaroslaw, David Brown, and Zoe Levine of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Demme Doufekias, Kerry Jones, Tim Gallivan, and a team of lawyers from Morrison & Foerster, and William E. Rittenberg of Rittenberg, Samuel, and Phillips, LLC filed the challenge to Louisiana’s clinic shutdown law on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women, Causeway Medical Clinic, and Bossier City Medical Suite in August 2014; a week-long hearing was held in June 2015.

 

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