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Louisiana Judge Partially Blocks State's New Restrictive Abortion Law

Set to take effect on Monday, the law could have forced abortion clinics to close throughout the state

Pro-choice activists. (Photo: Light Brigading)

A Louisiana judge on Sunday partially blocked the state’s restrictive new abortion law, set to take effect on Monday, which would require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

Four doctors challenged the law on the grounds that they were not given enough time to acquire those privileges. They said the law would have forced all five of Louisiana’s abortion clinics to close down. One of the plaintiffs had admitting privileges within 30 miles of his office, but said that he feared for his safety if he were to become the only abortion provider in the state.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the ruling protected Louisiana women “from an underhanded law that seeks to strip them of their health and rights.”

In his temporary decision, Judge John de Gravelles ruled that the four doctors would not be subject to penalties or sanctions while they were in the process of seeking admitting privileges. Their risk of being prosecuted and losing their licenses outweighs any injury to the state, de Gravelles said.

In a press release, CRR described admitting privileges requirements as “designed by anti-choice politicians to devastate women’s access to abortion services.”

Similar legislation has already caused shutdowns of clinics in Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. “Yet, admitting privileges provide no increased benefits for the fewer than 1 percent of abortion patients who experience complications,” CCR stated.

“Politicians cannot be given free rein to lie about their motives without recourse, and expect women and their families to pay the consequences,” Northup said.

A status conference on the application for an injunction will be held in 30 days, the Times Picayune reports.

In Texas on Saturday, a judge struck down a similar portion of the state’s new restrictive abortion law, which required abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. The judge in that case said the law placed an “unconstitutional undue burden” on women in the state.

“As the flimsy façade of these laws grows thinner by the day, we continue to look to the courts to uphold the Constitution and protect access to safe and legal abortion for all women regardless of where they happen to live,” Northup said.

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