Press Release: June 29, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a 5-4 plurality decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, ruling that Louisiana’s 2014 Unsafe Abortion Protection Act is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision today upholds the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision.
The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, known as Act 620, requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Until that time Louisiana law required physicians at all outpatient surgical centers, except abortion facilities, to have admitting privileges at a local hospital to treat complications. In 2014, together with Louisiana Right to Life and legal consultation from the Bioethics Defense Fund, then State Representative (now State Senator) Katrina Jackson authored the bill in order to close that loophole.
The law was immediately challenged by the abortion industry after it was overwhelmingly approved with bipartisan support by the Louisiana Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal, and it has been remained in the federal court system since then. Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill argued the case before the Supreme Court on March 4.
Sen. Jackson (D-Monroe), who is also a Louisiana attorney, said: “The Supreme Court has issued a tragic decision that continues its practice of putting the interests of for-profit abortion businesses ahead of the health and safety of women. Together with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans and women and men, we passed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to protect the health and safety of women in Louisiana. While today’s decision is not what we wanted, we will never stop working to put the women of Louisiana above the interests of the abortion businesses.
“This is just wrong in so many ways. I’m so disappointed in the Supreme Court. In a time when America is making strides to provide access to healthcare, the Court denies the women of Louisiana qualified physicians. This is true of any procedure, regardless of whether I believe in the procedure or not. I believe that all physicians providing services to women should do so in a safe and qualified manner.”
Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director for Louisiana Right to Life, said: “With its decision today, the Supreme Court has given license to abortion businesses to operate shoddy clinics without credentialed physicians, binding a state’s hands to protect the safety of women. We are deeply disappointed the Supreme Court insists on continuing to serve as the national abortion control board, rather than respecting the interest of state government in protecting the health and welfare of its citizens. When abortion businesses aren’t held to the same standard of care, the health of women are at risk. Louisiana Right to Life will continue to work to enact common-sense regulations that protect both women and their unborn children from the unscrupulous and profit-driven abortion industry.”
Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund and a consulting attorney to Louisiana Right to Life, said, “Louisiana has set the standard for passing and defending bipartisan legislation that is both pro-woman and pro-life. Whatever the reason, every woman undergoing abortion deserves the customary standard of medical care owed to every member of the human family. It is a tragedy that unelected Justices have once again usurped the democratic process in a way that elevates abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women.”