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AG files brief to ensure women retain access to safe, legal abortions

12/4/2019, 4:05 p.m.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general fighting to ensure women are able to maintain access ...

Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general fighting to ensure women are able to maintain access to safe, legal abortions. In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the petitioners in June Medical Services v. Gee, Raoul and the coalition seek to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upholding a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

“Louisiana’s law is unnecessarily burdensome and intended to make it nearly impossible for women to access to safe, legal abortions,” Raoul said. “I am committed to ensuring that government does not stand between women and the medical services they need.”

In 2014, Louisiana passed a law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. If the law were enforced, Louisiana would be left with, at most, two physicians who could provide abortion services in the state, despite the fact that roughly 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year. Louisiana’s admitting-privileges requirement is identical to the Texas statute that was invalidated and found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted a permanent injunction against the Louisiana law, but in 2018, the 5th Circuit reversed that decision. June Medical Services and two physicians appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which granted an emergency application to stay the law from taking effect pending the outcome of the appeal.

Raoul and the coalition filed the amicus brief to promote the availability of safe abortion services and to protect the health of women seeking abortion services, while defending the long-recognized right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that Louisiana’s law is an unnecessary and onerous burden that fails to promote women’s health and will end up further limiting the number of abortion providers available to women in Louisiana.