Judge blocks Louisiana trigger law banning abortion

A Louisiana judge blocked enforcement on Monday of statewide abortion ban designed to automatically go into effect when Roe fell.

Two abortion rights groups on Monday filed a challenge to Louisiana’s trigger law, which went into effect following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that struck down the federal right to abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP requested emergency relief allowing providers in the state to continue providing abortions and patients to access the procedure.

In an email after the judge’s decision Monday, the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “Abortion care will resume in the state and a hearing has been set for July 8th.”

“Louisiana’s court made the right call today to swiftly block this unjust ban from taking effect. It is incredibly welcome news during a very dark time in our history,” the Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Staff Attorney Jenny Ma said in a statement. “This means that Louisiana patients will still be able to access the essential health care they need—every second that abortion is accessible counts. While the fight is far from over, we will do everything in our power to preserve abortion access in Louisiana and across the country.”

The groups, filing on behalf of organizations such as Hope Medical Group for Women and Medical Students for Choice, asked the court to review the state’s trigger laws and determine what options exist for lifesaving care that requires aborting a pregnancy.

“In a stunning state of affairs, the day Dobbs was issued, state and local officials issued conflicting statements about whether and which trigger laws were actually in effect and thus what conduct—if any—was prohibited. Due process requires more,” the groups wrote in a statement Monday.

“There is tremendous urgency around this petition and emergency motion as the Dobbs decision has precipitated a tidal wave of canceled appointments and the withdrawal of critical services in states with trigger laws throughout the nation, perhaps none more so than in Louisiana where the trigger laws are immediately effective,” they added.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted shortly after Friday’s decision that “Louisiana’s trigger law banning #abortion is now in effect.”

With its decision in Dobbs, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that established the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago.

Louisiana was among more than a dozen GOP-led states that quickly enacted trigger laws either banning or severely restricting abortion within their borders.

Democrats at the state and federal level are discussing various actions to protect abortion access, from declaring a federal health emergency to setting up clinics on tribal lands outside of state legal jurisdiction.

“We are committed to this monumental legal challenge – not to perpetuate an endless political battle, but to ensure our patients’ wellbeing and so that they may draw strength from our dedication to this fight,” Hope Medical Group Administrator Kathaleen Pittman said in a statement Monday.

Medical Students for Choice Executive Director Pamela Merritt said her organization wanted to ensure that every medical student in the U.S. can receive education and training on abortion and family planning.

“Our members are outraged and heartbroken by the Supreme Court’s decision,” Merritt said in a statement. “While we have been actively preparing for this moment, it’s never easy to see the government take human rights away from millions of people, including those in Louisiana.”

Updated: 6:24 p.m.

Tags abortion ban abortion ban Abortion in the United States abortion rights Boies Schiller Flexner LLP Hope Medical Group Jeff Landry Louisiana Medical Students for Choice supreme court abortion ruling Supreme Court of the United States the Centers for Reproductive Rights
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