WASHINGTON (Good Medical) – The US Supreme Court temporarily prevented Friday the entry into force of a Louisiana law imposing strict regulation on abortion in a case involving a litmus test for the litigation raised after the retirement of Judge Anthony Kennedy, crucial advocate of the right to abortion.
PHOTO FILE: Anti-Abortion Protesters Stand in Supreme Court at the 46th March for Life in Washington, DC, January 18, 2019. Good Medical / Joshua Roberts / File Photo
Judge Samuel Alito said in a one-page order that "judges need time to consider" the various documents filed by the court before ruling on the urgent application filed by Hope, the abortion provider based in Shreveport, to block the law.
Alito said the restrictions, which were to come into effect on Monday, will be suspended until at least February 7.
Hope Medical Group challenged the law's requirement that doctors performing abortions must maintain a hard-to-reach formal relationship, called "admission privilege," in a hospital located less than 48 km from the location of the hospital. procedure.
Lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights, an advocacy group representing challengers, said the law could force the closure of two of the three abortion clinics operating in Louisiana, in a state of emergency. state of more than 4.6 million people.
The law backed by the Republicans was passed in 2014 but the courts prevented it from taking effect. The Supreme Court itself blocked it in 2016, two days after hearing another important case involving a similar measure taken in Texas and which the judges eventually quashed.
Kennedy, a conservative who retired in July 2018, voted in favor of maintaining the right to abortion in important decisions in 1992 and 2016. Republican President Donald Trump replaced Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh, the one of the two members appointed by Trump who are part of the conservative majority of the Court (5-4), alongside Neil Gorsuch.
The abortion provider's lawyers said the Louisiana provision was almost identical to the Texas law, which the Supreme Court overturned in 2016 on a five-to-three vote. As a result, the court's action in the Louisiana case could indicate whether the new Conservative majority will withdraw from the 2016 decision.
A federal district judge overturned the Louisiana law in January 2016, claiming that it created an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion under the Supreme Court's jurisprudence. The High Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
But in a September 2018 decision, the US-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reinstated the law, saying there was no evidence that clinics in Louisiana would be closing down as a result of the condition eligibility of "admission privileges".
On January 18, the 5th Circuit refused on 9 votes against 6 to replay the case, pushing four of its judges to dissent, claiming that the September court's decision was "in blatant contradiction" with the decision of the Supreme Court in Texas.
Many measures have been approved in conservative US states that impose various restrictions on abortion, while abortion opponents in state legislatures are trying to reduce the availability of abortions.
Lawrence Hurley report; Edited by Will Dunham