Louisiana trigger laws banning nearly all abortions allowed to stand by state Supreme Court

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(WASHINGTON) — A Louisiana Supreme Court ruling allowed the state’s ban on almost all abortions to go into effect on Friday, after a series of court challenges by local abortion providers was moved to another jurisdiction.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, Louisiana’s trigger laws restrictions arguably went into automatic effect.

However, a lawsuit led by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Boies Schiller law firm on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women — a Louisiana abortion provider — that had challenged the state’s three abortion trigger laws, led to a temporarily ruling to block such bans on June 27.

Louisiana District Court Judge Ethel Simms Julien will not extend a temporary restraining order to block the Louisiana state ban on abortion, according to the public information officer for the New Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Since Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso’s decision on June 27, two abortion clinics have continued to see patients in the state: Women’s Health Care Center Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge and Hope Medical Group for Women.

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As of this ruling, those clinics will no longer be able to continue their services. Nor is it clear which guidelines providers are to follow, since no ruling was issued on the specifics of the lawsuit.

Instead, the lawsuit is now under a different court’s jurisdiction, and the state’s bans are not blocked during the time it will take to obtain a ruling, according to Friday’s hearing.

During the hearing, Attorney General Jeff Landry argued that the New Orleans Parish Civil District Court is not the appropriate venue to litigate the case. The court will now transfer the case to the 19 Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

It is unclear at this point when that hearing will take place.

According to Julien’s ruling in Friday’s hearing, the case is now out of the jurisdiction of the New Orleans Parish Civil District Court, and the judge has no authority to extend the temporary restraining order blocking the state bans. Abortion is effectively banned in Louisiana until the case is heard in Baton Rouge.

According to The Associated Press, about 60 protesters gathered outside the courthouse Friday waving signs that read, “Abortion is health care” and “Do you want women to die?”

Following the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisiana was only one of three states to have automatic, immediate trigger laws restricting abortions, including a ban on abortion after 6 weeks.

The first of the state’s trigger laws was enacted in 2006, stating that abortion under all circumstances except due to certain medical circumstances would become criminal offenses. However, there was no clear guideline as to how the ban would be enforced or when it would become effective.

In June 2022, in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade’s constitutionality, a second ban was signed. This ban added a statement directly relating to the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court.

A third trigger ban was enacted days after the second, which states that it will ban abortion after 15 weeks gestation, compared to the first and second’s bans for abortion at any point. The three bans also all differ on their penalty provisions.

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