You’re invited! Join LifeSite in celebrating 25 years of pro-life and pro-family reporting at our anniversary Gala August 17th in Naples, Florida. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by clicking here.
BATON ROUGE (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion is still legal in Louisiana – for now.
The Louisiana Supreme Court allowed a temporary ban on the state’s pro-life trigger law to stand in a 4-2 ruling late Wednesday. The Court opined that it was too early to make a decision on the case, holding that a legal challenge to the state’s law should first be heard in district and appellate courts.
The block on Louisiana’s trigger law was put in place shortly after the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturned Roe v. Wade in its ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Abortionists had argued that Louisiana’s trigger law, prepared to come into effect if Roe v. Wade fell, had contradicting trigger mechanisms and that the law was imprecise in its prohibitions.
According to the law, the three remaining abortion mills in the state would be closed, and abortions after “fertilization and implantation” would be banned. The law allows exceptions only for ectopic pregnancies, pregnancies in which the infant could not survive postpartum, and in cases where the mother’s life is allegedly threatened due to a physical condition.
The law further states that a woman who believes she needs an abortion would need to get a diagnosis from two separate doctors. It also imposes a prison sentence of up to 15 years and $200,000 in fines for abortion providers. Louisianans previously voted for an amendment to the state constitution that said that there was no constitutional right to abortion.
The Louisiana Supreme Court issued its ruling after Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry asked to enforce the law. Justice Jefferson Hughes III explained that the Court had denied Landry’s request, holding that the court would be involved too early, the Washington Examiner reported. Hughes was joined by Justices Scott Crichton, Piper Griffin, and James Genovese.
Justices William Crain and Jay McCallum dissented while Chief Justice John Weimer recused himself. In his opinion, Crain stated that “While whether these doctors will suffer irreparable harm by being prohibited from performing abortions is debatable, terminating alleged life during the period of the temporary restraining order is irreparable.”
The block will remain in place pending a hearing scheduled in a Louisiana district court Friday morning. Friday’s hearing seeks to determine if the block should be extended.
Reacting to the decision, Landry tweeted that the Court was “delaying the inevitable.”
“[The] Louisiana Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable. Our Legislature fulfilled their constitutional duties, and now the Judiciary must. It is disappointing that time is not immediate,” Landry tweeted.
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) July 6, 2022
In his July 1 filing, Landry argued that the abortion providers were “willfully misreading clear terms in the law in an attempt to manufacture arguments that the statutes are unconstitutionally vague.”
Joann Wright, an attorney for the abortionists, said, “We look forward to the preliminary injunction hearing on Friday” in district court.
Trigger laws have been enforced in at least 11 states following SCOTUS’ ruling in Dobbs, with other states set to enforce their laws in the near future. Legal challenges have been filed in several states because of the laws.
In Texas, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a pre-Roe abortion law dating from the 1920’s was constitutional after a Harris County district court judge blocked it following an advisory letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. In the letter, Paxton said that the law was to be enforced as the state’s trigger law was pending the official judgment of SCOTUS. SCOTUS’ judgment is expected late this month.
In Kentucky, the state Supreme Court ruled against a pro-life trigger law that prohibited most abortions following an advisory letter from Attorney General Daniel Cameron requesting that the law be enforced. The request followed a block on the law from a district court in Jefferson County.
In Utah, a judge imposed a two week stay on a 2020 trigger law after abortion providers filed lawsuits. The law names abortion a second-class felony and allows exceptions for abortions in cases of rape and incest or when the life of the mother is allegedly threatened. The judge, Andrew Stone, said that the immediate effect of the law would occur outweigh any policy issues of the state. He expects the case to go to the Utah Supreme Court.