News

Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Temporarily Suspends Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

Signs outside the Supreme Court during the March for Life in Washington, D.C., January 18, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily stayed a Louisiana law that abortion-rights advocates say would have left only one provider of the procedure in the state.

The majority of five justices included Chief Justice John Roberts, who leans conservative but has become the closest thing to a swing vote in controversial cases since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who frequently broke ties on the divided court.

The Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a restriction that has drawn the ire of abortion advocates, who say it puts an unreasonable burden on physicians and women seeking the procedure. A federal judge in Louisiana blocked the law in 2017, but Louisiana appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s ruling, sending the case to the Supreme Court.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the ruling to grant a temporary stay of the statute. The court will likely hear a challenge in the fall, during its next term.

“Louisiana is poised to deny women their constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion with an admitting-privileges requirement that every judge in the proceedings below — the District Court, the panel majority and the dissenters — agrees is medically unnecessary,” wrote the clinics and physicians challenging the law in their application to the Supreme Court.

Louisiana has only three clinics with a total of four doctors who perform abortions, only one of whom has hospital admitting privileges. If the remaining three doctors could obtain admitting privileges, “then the three clinics could continue providing abortions,” Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent. “And if so, then the new law would not impose an undue burden.”

Abortion advocates celebrated the ruling, calling it a step forwards for women’s rights, while pro-life leaders excoriated the decision, which they said provides opportunities for more unsafe abortion procedures.

“The Supreme Court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women,” said the president of the abortion-rights-backing Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup, in a statement.

“With tonight’s decision, the Supreme Court continues a disappointing trend of avoiding their responsibility on decisions concerning abortion,” said president of the Susan B. Anthony List Marjorie Dannenfelser, adding that the law protects women from the “abortion lobby, which repeatedly puts profit over health and safety standards.”

“The abortion industry, over the past four decades, has fought against every common-sense health standard,” said Benjamin Clapper, executive director for Louisiana Right to Life. “This is just another example of the extreme lengths the abortion industry pursues to protect abortion-on-demand.”

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More