Louisiana abortion providers file appeal, hope to prevent ban | Health, medicine and fitness

By SARA CLINE – Associated Press

Baton Rouge (Associated Press) – Abortion rights advocates hope a near-total ban in Louisiana will soon ban the procedure again, after prosecutors in an ongoing lawsuit filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court Thursday.

Abortion access in Louisiana has been back and forth for weeks, as the state’s three clinics rely on court rulings and temporary restraining orders to continue operations. Louisiana’s abortion law, which contains no exceptions for rape or incest, is currently in effect. However, if the Louisiana Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs in their appeal, enforcement of the ban would be blocked again.

“We hope that the Louisiana Supreme Court will rule that local courts have the power to block unconstitutional criminal laws, including the trigger ban in question,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Joanna Wright, said in a written statement Thursday afternoon. access to critical and sometimes life-saving health care, and we will continue to challenge the Attorney General’s attempts to undermine that access through vague, unconstitutional laws. This fight is not over yet – we are not going anywhere.”

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The back-and-forth battle over the Louisiana ban began in June when the US Supreme Court Ended constitutional protections for abortion. While the plaintiffs do not deny that the state can now ban abortion, they argue that the provisions of the law are contradictory and unconstitutionally vague. The legislation prohibits all abortions unless there is a significant risk of death or harm to the patient if the pregnancy continues and in the case of a “medically feasible” pregnancy – when the fetus has a fatal anomaly.

The subject of the dispute is a legal question about whether local courts should postpone their rulings while appealing their decisions.

On July 21, Baton Rouge Judge Donald Johnson issued a preliminary injunction That allowed clinics to continue offering abortions while a lawsuit was filed over the ban.

But the proceedings were blatantly halted last Friday when a government appeals court judgment in favor of Jeff Landry, the Louisiana attorney general, who granted a “temporary” appeal and ordered Johnson to reinstate the ban.

After the decision, Wright said it was disappointing that the First Circuit ruled without first allowing plaintiffs an opportunity to file opposition to the proposal. She said the court “essentially eliminated critical health care services in the state.”

Prosecutors are now appealing the appeals court’s decision in the Louisiana Supreme Court. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs – which includes an abortion clinic in northern Louisiana – the ban would be blocked for the third time since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In their appeals to the First Circuit’s decision, plaintiffs argue that providers do not know what medical care they can do under the law and are therefore “forced, in tragic cases, to choose between engaging in potentially illegal behavior or refusing to provide health care to their patients with potentially dangerous outcomes.” .

The law states that doctors and others who perform abortions can face up to 15 years in prison.

Former Louisiana Attorney General Paddy Caldwell and 22 of the state’s law professors have submitted friendly memoranda in support of the plaintiffs’ appeal. The summaries focus on the legal arguments for the filing and not the “essential merits of the lawsuit.”

Abortion providers and advocates say that every day it was banned was valuable. Since the dismissal of Roe v. Wade, there have been at least 249 abortions in Louisiana, according to data from the state Department of Health.

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