Wednesday, Sept. 26, a federal appeals court panel ruled that a 2014 Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital passes constitutional muster.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel recognized a similar law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, but by a 2-1 decision they said the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (Act 620) does not impose the same “substantial burden” on women as the Texas law.
Judges Smith and Clement analyzed the law’s impact on Louisiana, separating it from the Texas-based facts presented in the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision.
The ruling reverses the 2017 ruling of federal district court Judge John deGravelles, who blocked the law.
“Louisiana Right to Life celebrates today’s 5th Circuit decision upholding Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act as a victory for women’s health and safety,” said Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life. “Ever since we began working with State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) to introduce HB 388 in 2014, the goal of requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals was always about protecting women by ensuring the continuity of care in cases of emergency. Our law should never create special loopholes so that abortion facilities can operate in a sub-standard manner. These facilities and their physicians should be held to the same standard as all outpatient surgical facilities.
“Louisiana Right to Life commends Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill for their persistent leadership in defending Louisiana’s bipartisan 2014 law, especially in the face of other states choosing to dismiss their defense of similar admitting privileges laws.”
Dorinda Bordlee, Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, added, “In light of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that unjustly struck down a similar Texas admitting privileges law, today’s 5th Circuit ruling is a huge win. The abortion industry has failed in its attempt to use the federal courts to undermine customary health standards for women who are physically injured by the known medical risks of abortion, such as uterine puncture or cervical tearing. This pro-woman, pro-life legislation recognizes the reality that abortion endangers the lives of both women and children.”