A judge in Louisiana blocked the state from enforcing a near-total ban on abortions for the second time Tuesday, temporarily allowing the procedure amid a legal back-and-forth after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Judge Donald Johnson issued a short lived restraining order blocking the state’s abortion bans while a high-profile legal challenge moves forward within the capital, Baton Rouge. One other judge had previously issued a short lived restraining order to stop the state’s three abortion bans from taking effect last month, but one more judge said last week that the court didn’t have the authority to accomplish that, immediately outlawing abortions once more.
Johnson’s latest ruling will effectively allow abortion services within the state to resume until at the least July 18, when he holds a hearing on the matter.
The legal maneuvering has forced Louisianans and abortion providers to scramble as they work out the way to operate within the state’s post-Roe system. The Latest York Times noted that certainly one of the state’s few remaining abortion clinics, in Shreveport, said it might resume services for at the least the following few days, calling the conflicting rulings “insane” and “stressful.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry lambasted the judge’s ruling, saying the people “have spoken each directly on the ballot box and thru their elected legislature repeatedly and again.”
“To have the judiciary create a legal circus is disappointing and what discredits the institutions we depend on for a stable society,” Landry wrote on Twitter. “The rule of law should be followed, and I won’t rest until it’s. Unfortunately, we can have to attend a bit bit longer for that to occur.”
“Any society that places themselves before their children (the longer term) doesn’t last,” he concluded.
— Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) July 12, 2022
Abortion rights groups hailed the ruling, saying it was an “incredible relief for individuals who need abortion care immediately in Louisiana.”
“Abortion care within the state can resume today, and further irreparable harm has been avoided,” Jenny Ma, a senior staff attorney on the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a press release. “Our work continues and we now stay up for our hearing on Monday, where we’ll ask the judge to dam the bans more permanently. Every hour and daily that a clinic can still provide abortion care fundamentally changes the lives of individuals for the higher.”
Louisiana was certainly one of several states that had so-called trigger laws on the books that made abortion bans go into effect as soon because the Supreme Court’s conservative majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade last month. But health care providers quickly sued to stop them from moving forward.
The Latest York Times reported that Louisiana’s State Structure doesn’t provide a right to abortion, granting lawmakers the flexibility to pass laws restricting the procedure. But women’s rights groups and abortion providers have sued, saying the trigger laws violate due process and are “void for vagueness.”
The laws provide an exception for patients who’ve “medically futile” pregnancies but gives no definition for what which means or what conditions would qualify for many who seek an abortion, The Associated Press reported.
The law doesn’t include exceptions for victims of rape or incest.