POLITICS

Louisiana Is Sued Over All 7 Abortion Restrictions It Enacted This Year

The Supreme Court's abortion ruling against Texas is already making trouble for other red states.
Protesters demonstrate outside the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Jan. 7, 2015, in New Orleans.
Protesters demonstrate outside the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Jan. 7, 2015, in New Orleans.

Emboldened by its monumental win at the Supreme Court this week, the legal advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights sued Louisiana on Friday over every abortion restriction the state legislature passed this year. 

CRR, fresh off its victory against the state of Texas, filed a new lawsuit in federal district court that challenges seven Louisiana anti-abortion measures, including a mandatory 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. The suit also aims to block a ban on the dilation and evacuation procedure, the safest method of second-trimester abortions, and a measure that requires cremation or burial for fetal tissue after an abortion. 

The other new restrictions being challenged include a ban on abortion in cases of genetic abnormalities; restrictions on how women can undergo medication (non-surgical) abortions; a measure that prevents state agencies from contracting with any entity that provides abortions; and a limit on which kinds of physicians are allowed to provide abortion care. 

“Louisiana politicians are trying to do what the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled decisively they cannot, burying women’s right to safe and legal abortion under an avalanche of unjustified and burdensome restrictions," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This law creates a web of red tape that women and their doctors cannot hope to escape, driving safe and legal care out of reach for many Louisiana women and putting their health and well-being at risk." 

In a 5-3 ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a pair of Texas abortion restrictions that had imposed onerous rules on abortion clinics that were impossible for most of them to meet. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his majority opinion that the measures were unconstitutional because "there was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure."

The Texas law, Breyer wrote, "provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an 'undue burden' on their constitutional right to do so."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg added her own concurring opinion, which, in a single paragraph, warned lawmakers that any medically unnecessary abortion restrictions intended to make it harder for women to access the procedure "cannot survive judicial inspection.” 

The decision is likely to influence lower courts to strike down many abortion restrictions across the country. 

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