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29 Jun, 2020 16:14

Louisiana abortion clinic restrictions struck down in surprise Supreme Court ruling

Louisiana abortion clinic restrictions struck down in surprise Supreme Court ruling

The US Supreme Court has quashed a Louisiana law that would have jeopardized all but one of the state’s abortion clinics, ruling the requirement that providers have hospital admitting privileges was an unconstitutional burden.

Five out of nine justices agreed on Monday that the law imposed an undue burden on women seeking access to abortions and was thus unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts referenced a similar case in Texas in the much-anticipated decision, siding with the liberal judges on the court to declare that, like the burden “imposed by the Texas law” struck down in 2016, “Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.” He was the only conservative justice to join the liberal minority, however.

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The case, June Medical Services v. Russo, dealt with a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a difficult-to-obtain arrangement. If the law went into effect, all but one of Louisiana’s abortion clinics would likely have had to close – forcing women seeking the procedure to travel hundreds of miles to find another clinic.

While the details of the ruling paralleled the 2016 Texas case, Monday’s decision came as a surprise because the two justices appointed to the court by President Donald Trump were widely considered to have moved SCOTUS significantly to the right. Trump stated in the weeks following his 2016 election that appointing “pro-life” justices would be one of his main considerations in the coming years.

The Louisiana law’s adoption was halted last year as the court reviewed its constitutionality, but apparently finding no fault there, Roberts cast the deciding vote on the basis of the Texas precedent.

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