NEW ORLEANS (BRPROUD) — On Friday, an Orleans Parish court will hear the merits of the state’s abortion trigger laws that have been called into question for being confusing and contradictory. There have been several court moves in recent weeks to start and stop abortions in Louisiana.
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, there has already been a number of changes to what is allowed when it comes to abortion. The judge will hear the merits of the concerns and potentially clarify the laws.
In the days after the Dobbs decision, abortion clinics around the state were able to reopen due to a temporary restraining order given by an Orleans Parish court. Those fighting the laws believe it is not clear when they were supposed to go into effect and which of the multiple trigger laws from the last two decades are to be used.
One of the main concerns is the punishment for doctors. In the legislation passed and signed this year by Governor John Bel Edwards, there is a steep penalty for anyone who performs an abortion unless it falls under the narrow exceptions. Some fear this will lead to doctors not wanting to work in the state.
“For clients who are going to be expected to have babies in this state, they’re going to need obstetricians to practice in the state of Louisiana. Black women are facing maternal mortality at a 4 to 1 comparison,” said Lakeesha Harris, co-director of Lift Louisiana.
Louisiana Right to Life said this court case is just a delay tactic and they believe the law is straightforward in the most recent iteration. The agency emphasizes its message that abortions will remain illegal under the law even with this court challenge.
“The purpose of the 2022 law was to make it very clear and to reaffirm that 2006 law to ensure that if Roe was overturned, which it was, that unborn babies would be protected in this state. We believe the law does that,” said Louisiana Right to Life Communications Director Sarah Zagorski.
On Wednesday night, the Louisiana Supreme Court blocked Attorney General Jeff Landry’s attempt to repeal the order. The 4-2 decision said it is too soon and that the trial court needs to do its work.
Following the decision, Landry tweeted: “Louisiana Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable. Our Legislature fulfilled their constitutional duties, and now the Judiciary must. It is disappointing that time is not immediate…We have fought for 50 years to overturn Roe – we will have the patience of Job, but make no mistake we will prevail!”
Abortion rights advocates are hoping the laws could be clarified, citing concerns of doctors who fear they could be heavily charged for trying to do their jobs. The former head of the Louisiana Department of Health said in an affidavit there is not enough guidance for doctors and these laws, which could lead to bad health outcomes for pregnant people.
The case will be heard in Civil District Court in Orleans Parish at 11 a.m. The court will hear arguments on whether to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Louisiana’s three separate trigger bans, each of which would ban abortion entirely.