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Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana law that severely restricted abortions

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana law that severely restricted abortions
Posted at 9:21 AM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 15:58:34-04

In a 5-4 decision announced Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that severely restricted abortion in the state, marking a win for abortion rights advocates.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a crucial conservative swing vote, sided with liberal Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan in issuing the majority opinion.

According to The Associated Press, Roberts has favored restrictions on abortion in two previous Supreme Court rulings.

The decision strikes down a Louisiana law that would have required physicians who perform abortions to also have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The law would have reduced the number of physicians in the state who were legally permitted to conduct an abortion to
one.

The law was nearly identical to a Texas law that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a 2016 decision.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“After today’s decision, we can breathe a sigh of relief. The Supreme Court sent a clear message to politicians across the country: Stop trying to take away access to safe, legal abortion.

“But our fight is far from over. While today is a victory for Louisianans, we must remember that we are in a world where politicians have pushed basic health care almost out of reach for millions of Americans, and where your ability to access abortion is still determined by where you live, how much money you make, and in this country that effectively also means the color of your skin. Far too many Black people, who are already dealing with the overt racism of police brutality, also endure more subtle, state-sanctioned policies like the ones that further limit and restrict access to abortion, that make access to bodily autonomy nearly impossible.

“We need more access to health care — not less. We will not back down from this fight, and we will not let politicians interfere with our ability to control our own bodies, lives, and futures.”

Alanah Odoms Hebert, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, made the following statement:

“We are tremendously relieved that the Supreme Court has struck down this law that would have decimated access to abortion in Louisiana – but this fight is not over. Coming just four years after the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical law, today’s 5-4 decision is a chilling reminder that the fundamental right to abortion remains on tenuous ground. As politicians continue to wage an all-out war on abortion access here in Louisiana and across the country, these restrictions disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities – putting their health and their bodily autonomy further at risk. This decision should motivate all of us to stay in the fight against these politically-motivated attempts to block people from care – and hold our elected officials accountable for ensuring reproductive freedom for all.”

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Louisiana’s abortion law, Act 620:

“Throughout my career and life as a pro-life Catholic, I have advocated for the protection, dignity and sanctity of life and will continue to do so," said Gov. Edwards. “While I voted for the law in question and am disappointed, I respect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and trust that Louisiana and our nation will continue to move forward.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement:

“Today, the Supreme Court continued its heartbreaking line of decisions that places ‘access’ to abortion above the health and safety of women and girls.

By putting precedent over patients, Justice Roberts gave his vote to a decision that ignored the overwhelming bipartisan support of Act 620 and the extensive record of Louisiana abortion providers’ history of medical malpractice, disciplinary actions, and violations of health and safety standards.

It is deeply disappointing that the Chief Justice continues a pattern of inconsistent and groundless decisions. In his misguided effort to convince the public that the Supreme Court is not political, Justice Roberts shows how political it actually is. Just four years ago, he joined the dissenters in Hellerstedt, which struck down Texas’s law; today, the Chief Justice openly acknowledges that case was wrong but then applies it anyway. He picks and choses from a stare decisis “buffet” to avoid admitting his Court is fallible. This is not justice – this is judge-made law at its worst.

Continuing to perpetuate judge-made rules that have no constitutional basis is bad for our country. It is this egregiously wrong practice that maintained decisions like Plessy, Dred Scott, and Korematsu for so long. And it reveals how far removed the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence has become from the rules that apply to all other litigants. We are past due for a course correction.

When laws are passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support by the elected representatives of a state and with undisputed proof of dangerous conditions and substandard abortion providers, but they cannot survive judicial review – something is drastically wrong with the Court’s case law on this subject.

I will continue to pray for all women and girls who will be exposed to the incompetent abortionists that put profits over people; and I will keep doing all that I legally can to protect the unborn, their mothers, and all Louisiana women.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo:

“Louisianians and Americans understand that every life is valuable, whether it’s 82 years old or 82 seconds old. It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women.

“States should be able to put basic health and safety laws in place to safeguard people from the deficient care that abortion clinics too often offer them. We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.

“I have always been proud of Louisianians’ steadfast commitment to protecting life. Unborn babies are the most innocent and defenseless people in our communities, and I’ll keep fighting for the life and health of every person, including vulnerable women and children.”

U.S Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana's law that required abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges:

“Women who use a clinic without hospital admitting privileges are in danger of complications and death should the procedure go badly. The Supreme Court ensured this danger remains."

U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) issued the following response after the Supreme Court ruled to strike down Louisiana’s health regulation Act 620 in a 5-4 decision.

“I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down Louisiana’s commonsense health regulation in June Medical Services v. Russo. This case was about whether the states have a right and responsibility to institute basic health and safety regulations to protect women—and whether the abortion industry should have the ability to strike down those commonsense health regulations. Today, the Court let the women of Louisiana down. This outrageous decision shows us yet again that our struggle is far from over, and we have to reaffirm our commitment to the cause of protecting the safety and the sanctity of every single human life.”

Louisiana State Sen. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) issued the following statement on the Supreme Court decision in the case of June Medical Services v. Russo:

"The Supreme Court has issued a tragic decision that continues its practice of putting the interests of for-profit abortion businesses ahead of the health and safety of women," Jackson said. "Together with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans and women and men, we passed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to protect the health and safety of women in Louisiana. While today's decision is not what we wanted, we will never stop working to put the women of Louisiana above the interests of the abortion businesses.
"The only silver lining is that Justice Roberts, who voted with the majority, has put back in place the undue burden test, which recognizes that state legislators have a compelling interest in protecting women's health and the life of unborn children," Jackson said.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Statement on June Medical Services v. Russo Supreme Court Ruling
“Today, the Supreme Court defended a woman’s right to receive reproductive health care without unconstitutional barriers restricting their access,” Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party said. “While people in my own party fall on different sides of this issue, it’s clear that the Court saw this admitting requirement for what it is: red tape aimed at closing clinics and pushing abortion out of reach.
“The argument to require admitting privileges was a transparent attack on Roe v. Wade under the guise of protecting women’s health, even while more invasive procedures don’t require admitting privileges.
“Protecting women’s health means defending and expanding their access to health care, not putting more obstacles in their way. I will always stand with women, and I’ll never stop fighting against attempts to restrict their access to quality, affordable, reproductive care. Because health care is a right, and that right should be accessible and available to all.”

Statement from the United State's Press Secretary Regarding Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion

"In an unfortunate ruling today, the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of unborn children by gutting Louisiana’s policy that required all abortion procedures be performed by individuals with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. States have legitimate interests in regulating any medical procedure—including abortions—to protect patient safety. Instead of valuing fundamental democratic principles, unelected Justices have intruded on the sovereign prerogatives of State governments by imposing their own policy preference in favor of abortion to override legitimate abortion safety regulations."