Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law

Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Three of the last abortion clinics in Louisiana remain open after the U.S. supreme court stopped a law that threatened to shut them down. His vote Thursday was not a vote for abortion rights as much it was a message to the lower courts to "knock that shit off" in trying to unilaterally undercut Supreme Court precedent by ignoring Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt and not going through the proper channels.

The Louisiana case is June Medical Services v. Gee.

Somehow, from all of this, The Nation's headline writer concludes that "Brett Kavanaugh Is Already Done Pretending He Respects Abortion Rights" (subhed: "And Susan Collins is to blame").

The Supreme Court recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

"We're elated - but not in the sense of uncorking the champagne", said Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Travis Tu, who has helped lead the fight against the Louisiana law. "The abortion lobby's relentless opposition to regulations like these exposes the industry's drive for profits above all else". In it, he says he would have let the law take effect and deny the stay without prejudice-meaning that if all providers but one were not able to comply with the statute, then the plaintiffs could re-file their request.

Kavanaugh is one of two Trump appointees who are part of the court's 5-4 conservative majority, along with Neil Gorsuch. The court issued a stay on Thursday evening.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who served as the national Democratic Party chairman after losing a 2004 bid for president, said on Twitter that Collins will have to defend her vote for Kavanaugh next year if she runs for re-election "because it's likely Roe will not exist" any longer.

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CNBC reported that the law had been set to go into effect Monday but was held up pending the Supreme Court's decision. Chief Justice John Roberts has never cast a unilaterally pro-choice vote, and I don't expect him to anytime soon.

The law in question would require Louisiana abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Thursday night's Louisiana ruling may have only delayed the coming upheaval. "The Texas law would have shuttered some 20 clinics, whereas Louisiana's law would shutter only one or two of the state's three clinics".

Although Kavanaugh does not have an extensive record ruling on reproductive rights cases, Trump promised to appoint only "pro-life" justices.

They blamed the four-term ME senator for providing Kavanaugh with the opportunity to join the losing side of a 5-4 ruling that blocked proposed restrictions on who could perform abortions in Louisiana. "And the reality is that requiring the doctors to have admitting privileges doesn't confer any real health benefits". He said that he would have favored allowing them to bring a later legal challenge if their efforts were unsuccessful. The vote was 5-4, and Roberts voted with the conservative bloc in the minority.

In places like Louisiana, a requirement for doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges is just the most recent roadblock for women seeking abortion.

It's also possible that at some later date the Court could reaffirm, yet again, its support for Roe and overturn the Louisiana law or similar TRAP laws adopted by other states. When Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy retired a year ago, Trump nominated Kavanaugh, who barely received Senate confirmation after a contentious battle focused on his abortion views and sexual assault allegations. In 2006, he voted to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. Increasing that burden is what conservative states have been doing for years, requiring things like waiting periods and forced ultrasounds, or imposing so many unnecessary regulations on providers that nearly no one can meet them, leaving states with only a tiny number of providers.

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