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For immediate release: Thursday, February 7, 2019

Access to Abortion in Louisiana is Protected For Now

Women’s access and constitutional right to abortion continues to hang in the balance

The Supreme Court can and must take action to safeguard the constitutional right to abortion

Washington, DC -- Just now, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a law that could eliminate abortion access at all but one health center in Louisiana. While today’s move protects abortion access for Louisianans in the short-term, that access continues to hang in the balance. In order to safeguard the constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court must reverse the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling, which flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent, most notably, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. It is no surprise that Justice Kavanaugh dissented, voting to allow the harmful law to take effect. This underscores what’s long been known — abortion access hangs in the balance with Kavanaugh on the court.

There are currently 16 cases related to abortion only one step away from the Supreme Court. And it's not just that -- Trump and anti-abortion politicians have been doing anything they can to ban access to safe legal abortion, including making demonstrably false claims and demonizing women who get abortions late in pregnancy for health or medical reasons.

Statement from Helene Krasnoff, Vice President of Public Policy Litigation & Law, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“While today’s ruling means that women’s access to abortion in Louisiana remains in place for the moment, the threat to Roe v. Wade remains very real. We are seeing politicians across the country pushing policies to take away women’s rights and block access to abortion. Women deserve better than this. Our patients deserve better than this. We will not stop fighting to ensure their access to health care remains in place.”

We’ve seen the destructive impact of this exact law before. In February 2016, due to an earlier ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Louisiana law was allowed to briefly take effect, throwing abortion access in Louisiana into chaos for nine days until the Supreme Court blocked the law. Outlets nationwide captured the devastation to women’s rights and health care access in the state.

Less than three years ago — in June 2016 —  the Supreme Court struck down an identical Texas law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that shuttered around half of the providers in the state. That ruling made it clear that medically unnecessary laws like Louisiana’s serve only to burden women’s access to abortion, posing danger to their health, in violation of their rights. This isn’t limited to Louisiana, as states like Arkansas and Missouri in the Eighth Circuit continue to flout the Whole Woman’s Health decision and impose similarly onerous restrictions to those in Texas.


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