Louisiana abortion clinic restriction upheld by appeals court

Louisiana abortion clinic restriction upheld by appeals court
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A Louisiana court of appeals on Wednesday upheld a law passed by state legislators requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, saying it does not put an undue burden on women.

Reuters reports that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, arguing that there was no evidence the law would force some abortion clinics in the state to close, as advocates had warned.

“There is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act,” the judges wrote in their ruling, according to Reuters.

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The ruling went on to conclude that just under a third of women in the state, 30 percent, would potentially face increased wait times in the state for abortion services or other medical procedures offered by clinics.

This court's decision comes following a law in neighboring Texas being struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016 after it found that the law created an undue burden for women by forcing many of the state's clinics to close.

Louisiana's law differs from the Texas law, the judges wrote, because it “does not impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women.”

Medical groups and abortion providers disagreed, according to the news service, arguing that the purpose of Louisiana's law was to force clinics to shutter.

Representatives for the Department of Health and Hospitals did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Wednesday's ruling.

In a statement to The Hill, the pro-abortion rights group Center for Reproductive Rights said that it would take every legal recourse to stop the law from taking effect in the state.

"If the Fifth Circuit’s ruling stands, many doctors in Louisiana will no longer be able to provide abortion services, forcing women to forfeit their constitutional rights to access safe and legal abortion. This would disproportionately impact low-income women. Socioeconomic status and geography should never dictate a woman’s ability to exercise her fundamental human rights,” said the group's president, Nancy Northup.

“We will take every legal recourse to ensure that this unconstitutional law does not take effect.”