A federal district court on Wednesday permanently blocked Louisiana’s Texas-style anti-abortion law, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down portions of the Texas omnibus anti-abortion law known as HB 2.
The ruling blocks the requirement that physicians have admitting privileges at a hospital providing OB-GYN services and located no more than 30 miles away. The lawsuit did not challenge the law’s other provisions, including forced counseling requirements, restrictions on medication abortion, a telemedicine abortion ban, and physician reporting requirements.
For the third time this month, the Supreme Court’s decision striking down portions of the Texas HB 2 law was cited in blocking the enforcement of anti-abortion laws. Tennessee officials recently agreed to no longer enforce a pair of anti-choice laws, and a U.S. District judge in Missouri granted a preliminary injunction of a pair of anti-choice restrictions.
U.S. District Judge John deGravelles wrote in the decision that the anti-abortion law “places an unconstitutional undue burden on women seeking abortion in Louisiana.”
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that women and families in Louisiana deserve access to safe and legal health care “free of political interference” by state lawmakers.
“Sham laws that rob women of their rights and shutter high-quality clinics are dangerous and unconstitutional,” Northup said. “Courts across the country continue to see through the facade of clinic shutdown laws like Louisiana’s, striking them down one after another.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights in August 2014 filed a lawsuit on behalf of several of the state’s abortion providers, arguing the law would force most of the state’s clinics to close and that it created an undue burden for people seeking abortion care.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Women’s Health was cited throughout the district court’s decision. Judge deGravelles concluded there is “no legally significant distinction” between the Louisiana and Texas laws.
The Louisiana anti-abortion law was “modeled after the Texas admitting privileges requirement, and it functions in the same manner, imposing significant obstacles to abortion access with no countervailing benefits,” deGravelles wrote. “The Court is bound by the Supreme Court’s clear guidance to reach the same result and strike down the Act.”