SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana’s trigger bans on abortion have been blocked by a state court in response to a lawsuit filed earlier today by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of a Shreveport abortion provider challenging Louisiana’s newly triggered abortion laws following the reversal of Roe v. Wade Friday.
Abortion care will resume in the state and a hearing has been set for July 8, according to an updated statement released by CRR just before noon, within hours of filing the suit.
“Louisiana’s court made the right call today to swiftly block this unjust ban from taking effect,” said Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Staff Attorney Jenny Ma. “It is incredibly welcome news during a very dark time in our history. This means that Louisiana patients will still be able to access the essential health care they need—every second that abortion is accessible counts. While the fight is far from over, we will do everything in our power to preserve abortion access in Louisiana and across the country.”
“It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to utilize confusion, misinformation, and deceit as scare tactics in the face of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement early Monday afternoon in response to the suit.
“We would remind everyone that the laws that are now in place were enacted by the people through State Constitutional Amendments and the Louisiana Legislature, which the citizens elect representatives. We are fully prepared to defend these laws in our state courts, just as we have in our federal courts.”
The petition filed Monday requests emergency relief from the state’s trigger laws on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, its Administrator Kathaleen Pittman, and Medical Students for Choice.
According to a statement released by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner, the emergency relief includes the request for a temporary restraining order enjoining the enforcement of the laws so that plaintiffs can resume providing abortion care and Louisianians can access it.
“Plaintiffs challenge the unconstitutionally vague trigger laws which make it impossible to tell: (1) whether any of the trigger laws are in effect; (2) if so, which one; and (3) what conduct would be prohibited, including what exceptions exist for doctors performing procedures to save a pregnant person’s life. In a stunning state of affairs, the day Dobbs was issued, state and local officials issued conflicting statements about whether and which trigger laws were actually in effect and thus what conduct—if any—was prohibited. Due process requires more.”
“Seeking reproductive care is already difficult in the U.S., and especially in Louisiana,” Pittman said in the statement. “Now, as state governments are trying to ban abortion throughout the country, including in Louisiana, my heart is with our patients whose entire lives and future may change based on the next few days. We are committed to this monumental legal challenge – not to perpetuate an endless political battle, but to ensure our patients’ wellbeing and so that they may draw strength from our dedication to this fight.”
“Louisiana’s rushed and poorly conceived trigger laws are unconstitutionally vague and violate due process,” CRR attorney Joanna Wright said of the legal challenge to the state’s “complex web of unconstitutional trigger laws.”
“The Louisiana Constitution does not tolerate such a state of affairs and this lawsuit requires Louisiana to comport with the rule of law as required by its own Constitution. It is unfortunate that in his haste to score political points in the aftermath of Dobbs, the state’s Attorney General has ushered in an era of complete disregard for women’s bodily integrity and reproductive autonomy.”
“For the first time, the Supreme Court has taken away a guaranteed personal liberty right—one that Americans have counted on for generations,” Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup said in the statement. “A public health emergency is about to engulf the nation. As expected, Louisiana and many other states wasted no time enacting bans and eliminating abortion entirely. People who need an abortion right now are in a state of panic. We will be fighting to restore access in Louisiana and other states for as long as we can. Every day that a clinic is open and providing abortion services can make a difference in a person’s life.”
The release on the petition also included a statement from Medical Students for Choice Executive Director Pamela Merritt on why the organization is participating in the challenge to Louisiana’s trigger laws.
“Our members are outraged and heartbroken by the Supreme Court’s decision. While we have been actively preparing for this moment, it’s never easy to see the government take human rights away from millions of people, including those in Louisiana. We have joined this important lawsuit because we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that medical students in the United States continue receiving education and training in abortion and family planning.”
“There is tremendous urgency around this petition and emergency motion as the Dobbs decision has precipitated a tidal wave of canceled appointments and the withdrawal of critical services in states with trigger laws throughout the nation, perhaps none more so than in Louisiana where the trigger laws are immediately effective,” the CRR statement said.
The Louisiana Department of Health notified the state’s three outpatient abortion clinics by letter Friday that it expects them to abide by the state’s newly triggered abortion laws on abortion.
Louisiana’s trigger law, which has been in place since 2006, outlaws abortions in the state now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe Vs. Wade. Lawmakers also passed a controversial law during the 2022 Legislative session criminalizing doctors for performing abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed that bill into law last week.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry celebrated the ruling and promised a “rough fight” for anyone who challenged the state’s abortion laws.