5th Circuit Sends Lawsuit Back to District Court

On Oct. 18, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit elected not to dismiss a lawsuit challenging all Louisiana abortion clinic regulations. At the same time, the panel sent the case back down to the Middle District Court in Baton Rouge with direction that the abortion industry lawyers present evidence on how these laws could harm either the abortion clinics or the women these laws are designed to protect.

In the case June Medical Services, LLC, et al v. Rebekah Gee, et al (Middle District Court 3:17-cv-00404-BAJ-RLB), abortion industry lawyers challenged every single Louisiana abortion clinic regulation designed to protect women’s health and safety, claiming the cumulative effect is unconstitutional. Among many regulations at stake, the clinics challenged regulations that require the reporting of the rape of minors, the posting of a human trafficking hotline, and even requirements that clinics have sanitary toilet facilities.

According to page 12-13 of the decision, the following are just a few of the regulations challenged by the abortion attorneys:

  • “an abortion facility to have sanitary ‘toilet facilities,’ including hot and cold water and some method for drying users’ hands, LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 48, pt. I, § 4445(A)(5);”
  • “an abortion facility to comply ‘with all applicable state laws for the reporting of crimes against a child that include but are not limited to: a. rape; b. sexual battery; c. incest; and d. carnal knowledge of a juvenile,’ LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 48, pt. I, § 4425(F)(2);”
  • “an abortion facility to maintain the ‘privacy and confidentiality of patient medical records,’ LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 48, pt. I, § 4425(A)(3);”
  • “an abortion facility to ‘post information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline,’ LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 48, pt. I, § 4445(H).”

Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund and a consulting attorney to Louisiana Right to Life stated, “This decision is a huge win for Louisiana. The 5th Circuit’s ruling instructed the abortion industry that it cannot use the federal courts to usurp common-sense state regulations and the will of Louisiana citizens and their legislators without sufficient justification.”

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, said, “The abortion industry’s attempt to destroy health and safety regulations once again shows their commitment to abortion-on-demand without any safety regulations. They have even gone as far as challenging toilet sanitation requirements and human trafficking notices. We applaud our Attorney General Jeff Landry and his administration for their diligent defense of Louisiana’s common-sense regulations.”

Download and Read the Decision

Read The Associated Press Article on This Court Ruling