November 27, 2019

Challengers File Opening Brief in Supreme Court Against Louisiana Law Requiring Abortionists to have Admitting Privileges at a Local Hospital

Opponents to Louisiana's Unsafe Abortion Protection Act have appealed to the Supreme Court and have now filed their opening brief. The law requires that abortionists maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to continue practicing abortion legally. The legislation is designed to keep women safe in cases of medical emergencies that occur during the abortion process. It does not limit the access or scope of abortion in any way, but pro-choice advocates won't even accept patient safety as an excuse to apply any regulation to the abortion industry.

In their brief, the Center for Reproductive Rights compared the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to a Texas law that took similar actions. The courts ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that the Texas law was unconstitutional because it limited access to abortion significantly. Context is key, however, and there are reasons why this case has made it all the way to the supreme court.

“Women deserve better than incompetent providers that put profits over people.” Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill said. “Louisiana isn’t Texas, and our case is distinguishable from Hellerstedt; our facts, our evidence, and our generally applicable medical standards are all different.”

In the majority opinion from 5th Circuit Appeals Court, Judge Jerry Smith argued that Louisiana's context made all the difference (excerpt):
"...Here, unlike in Texas, the Act does not impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women under WWH and other controlling Supreme Court authority. Careful review of the record reveals stark differences between the record before us and that which the Court considered in WWH. 
Almost all Texas hospitals required that for a doctor to maintain privileges there, he or she had to admit a minimum number of patients annually. Few Louisiana hospitals make that demand. Because Texas doctors could not gain privileges, all but 8 of 40 clinics closed. Here, only one doctor at one clinic is currently unable to obtain privileges; there is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act. In Texas, the number of women forced to drive over 150 miles increased by 350%. Driving distances will not increase in Louisiana. Unlike the record in Louisiana, the record in Texas reflected no benefits from the legislation."
While this legislation does not limit abortion, the Supreme Court's acceptance of this legislation will ensure the safety of any Louisiana woman who falls prey to the abortion industry.

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