This week, U.S. District Judge John deGravelles permanently enjoined a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital, basing his decision on last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
According to Courthouse News Service, Judge deGravelles stated his belief that the law “would increase the risk of harm to women’s health by dramatically reducing the availability of safe abortion in Louisiana.” CNS notes:
U.S. District Judge John deGravelles, in a previous preliminary opinion, barred the state from enforcing the rule, but the Fifth Circuit reversed. Louisiana, however, agreed not to enforce the rule until further notice.
Judge deGravelles also claimed the regulation “would do little or nothing for women’s health” and even stated that “providers’ fear of anti-abortion violence” was among “evidence” considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision last year:
DeGravelles wrote in the 116-page ruling Wednesday that “the Supreme Court has now clarified” that “evidence considering the ‘real-world context of abortion patients’ poverty and transportation challenges, providers’ fear of anti-abortion violence, pre-existing regulations, and other obstacles to abortion access’ were not previously considered and should have been.”
No mention was made as to whether the Supreme Court considered the documented dangerous history of Whole Woman’s Health, the plaintiff in the case, which has a long list of health and safety violations.
Predictably, Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup claimed elected officials enacting safety measures at abortion facilities are on a “crusade against women’s health care.”
According to the Associated Press, the law had the potential to lead to the closure of two of the state’s three remaining abortion facilities. “… [S]imilar laws in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, and Wisconsin have been permanently blocked since the Supreme Court ruling last June,” AP reports.
The Center for Reproductive Rights told the AP that it is “currently challenging all seven abortion restrictions” passed by Louisiana last year, and that the state has “agreed to hold off enforcing those laws, which include extending a mandatory delay between consultation and abortion from 24 to 72 hours.”
The state’s attorney general’s office is currently reviewing the judge’s opinion.