Global  

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law

CNA Monday, 29 June 2020 ()
Aboard the papal plane, Jun 29, 2020 / 09:07 am (CNA).- The Supreme Court delivered two decisions Monday on cases concerning life issues. Among a total of three decisions issued by the court June 29, justices overturned a Louisiana state law seeking to hold abortion clinics to the same standards as other surgical centers. 

In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, with Chief Justice Roberts filing a concurring opinion, the court found that the state’s law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital posed substantial obstacles to a woman’s access to abortion, without significant benefits to the safety of women. Having been initially blocked on appeal by a district court, the law was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019. 

Breyer wrote that the state’s law was “almost word-for-word identical to Texas’ admitting-privileges law” that the Court ruled against in 2016.

The district court’s original ruling was correct to affirm that Louisiana’s “admitting privileges regulation offers no significant health benefit,” Breyer wrote, as well as its finding that the regulations “have made and will continue to make it impossible for abortion providers” to do so, thus putting “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with the majority, said that abortion clinics did have standing to appeal the law on behalf of women in the state, despite having separate interests in seeing the law overturned. At issue in the case was whether the law, enacted in June of 2014, imposed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion in the state. 

Abortion providers argued that the Louisiana law imposed substantially the same restrictions and burdens on women as did the Texas law, which was also rejected by the court. The Louisiana law required that abortion clinics adhere to the same standards as other surgical clinics in the state and required that doctors practicing at abortion clinics have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law would have prevented five of the six doctors in the state who perform abortions from practicing, and would have forced the closure of two of the state’s three abortion clinics. Hope Medical Clinic, an abortion provider, and two abortion doctors sued against the law.

In its decision upholding the law, the Fifth Circuit appeals court judges said only one doctor in the state was currently unable to obtain admitting privileges, and that some abortion doctors had not tried hard enough to get admitting privileges. 

Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act was enacted in a bipartisan effort, authored by pro-life Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson, now a state senator, and signed into law by then-governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic.

The state’s current governor, John Bel Edwards (D), campaigned on a pro-life platform leading up to his election in 2015 and signed a bill to ban abortion in the state upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat, in advance of his 2019 re-election.

Although the Supreme Court heard a similar case of Texas’ safety regulations of clinics in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Fifth Circuit appeals court that upheld Louisiana’s law pointed out significant differences in the two cases. Fifth Circuit judges said that the law “does not impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women” as Texas’ law did, and “passes muster” of the court’s 2016 decision.

Chief Justice Roberts, in his concurrence, said that Louisiana’s law imposed restrictions “just as severe” as those of Texas’ law struck down by the court in 2016. Thus, according to the “legal doctrine of stare decisis,” he said, Louisiana’s law “cannot stand” because of the court’s previous ruling in 2016. 

Roberts, however, dissented from that 2016 ruling against the Texas law. He joined the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas which criticized “the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’”

The court also ruled Monday on a case involving USAID, the federal government’s overseas aid agency. In that case, the agency had required foreign affiliates of humanitarian organizations to have policies opposing prostitution and sex trafficking as a condition of receiving U.S. funding to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

The foreign organizations challenged the USAID regulation, saying it violated their free speech. Pro-life groups had expressed concern that, if the court sided with the objecting groups and issued a broad ruling, pro-life regulations could be threatened such as the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. funding of overseas groups that perform or promote abortions. 

However, the court on Monday ruled in a 5-3 decision that USAID’s requirement was not a free speech violation as the foreign affiliates have no First Amendment rights.

Also on Monday, the court rejected an appeal from four federal inmates seeking to block their executions. Attorney General Bill Barr announced the planned resumption of executions last year, and they are now free to proceed, with three scheduled for July 13. They will be the first federal executions since 2003, ending an informal 17-year moratorium on the practice at the federal level.

The four inmates have all been convicted of multiple murders, including of children.
0
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 
Video credit: CBS 2 New York - Published
News video: Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law In Surprise Ruling

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law In Surprise Ruling 01:43

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with 4 liberal justices to rule against a law that would've effectively forced abortion clinics in Louisiana to close.

You Might Like


Related videos from verified sources

Family law assistance at Pima County Superior Court during the COVID-19 pandemic [Video]

Family law assistance at Pima County Superior Court during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Family Law Divison of Pima County Superior Court has put measures making sure family court is still accessible for people who need it during the pandemic.

Credit: KGUN, Tucson, AZ     Duration: 00:48Published
How recent Supreme Court ruling will affect Oklahomans [Video]

How recent Supreme Court ruling will affect Oklahomans

How recent Supreme Court ruling will affect Oklahomans

Credit: KJRH | Tulsa | Channel 2     Duration: 02:58Published
Supreme Court Rulings Have Major Implications for Americans [Video]

Supreme Court Rulings Have Major Implications for Americans

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its final rulings of the term. We explore the landmark decisions that will have a lasting impact on Americans and dive into what the future of the high..

Credit: Cheddar Inc.     Duration: 06:01Published

Related news from verified sources

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law in first big abortion case of Trump era


Chicago S-T

AP Top Stories June 29 P

Here's the latest for Monday, June 29th: WH denies Trump briefed about US troop bounties; Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law; More Florida...
USATODAY.com

Barbra Streisand, Sara Bareilles & More Singers React to SCOTUS Striking Down Louisiana Abortion Law

The Supreme Court struck down Louisiana's abortion law on Monday (June 29) that would've nearly shut down every clinic in the state in a 5-4 ruling, with Chief...
Billboard.com


Tweets about this

YorkTonga

TongaYork Supreme Court Allows Consumer Watchdog Agency to Stand, Strikes Down Internal Structure https://t.co/Q5zRrI5ioz D… https://t.co/fJjgfcLyVc 22 minutes ago

bbddpp

declerck ن 🐝 RT @EPICprivacy: The U.S. Supreme Court declared today that the government debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protect Act violates th… 24 minutes ago

PaulSianJD

Paul Sian RT @lawrencehurley: In first Supreme Court ruling of the day, the court strikes down part of consumer telephone law but says the entire law… 25 minutes ago

EPICprivacy

EPIC The U.S. Supreme Court declared today that the government debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protect Act viol… https://t.co/Jl4ZYEc26b 28 minutes ago

Boweadroit

Keith Bowe Supreme Court Allows Consumer Watchdog Agency to Stand, Strikes Down Internal Structure #TheGreatAwakening… https://t.co/OHFOKING0z 40 minutes ago

RedtheMighty

Mister Red (BLM 😘) @zaicyn @thehill You don’t seem to understand my point at all. If you want it to change, Sue the US government. The… https://t.co/notuo50ehi 51 minutes ago

slhintze

Susan L. Hintze RT @christinabmoore: BREAKING: Supreme Court Strikes Down TCPA Debt Call Carveout https://t.co/fGpo3Z3AOd 53 minutes ago

notplaying_

notplaying .Supreme Court Strikes Down Montana Blaine Amendment Barring State Aid to Religious Schools –… https://t.co/Ou1OaYDJBZ 56 minutes ago