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Supreme Court to revisit abortion laws by highlighting a Louisiana case

8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Monday, January 06 2020 Jan 6, 2020 January 06, 2020 6:45 AM January 06, 2020 in News
Source: The Advocate
Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington during a rally (Jan. 2011) Photo: The Advocate

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana is expected to play a major role in an abortion debate that could dramatically shape the future of abortion access across America. 

The Advocate reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case on March 4. The court will listen to both sides as a 2014 state law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital is challenged.

The Louisiana case is a significant part of each side's argument.

Citing the case’s national implications, the U.S. Solicitor General has even requested time during oral arguments to speak in favor of upholding the law and support for restrictions on abortion providers.

“(An) abortion regulation does not impose an unconstitutional ‘undue burden’ unless it creates a ‘substantial obstacle’ to a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion,” the federal government argues in a friend-of-the-court brief.

“Because Act 620 does not create a substantial obstacle to obtaining an abortion, the Court need not review its benefits … . But if the Court were to do so, it should conclude the Act’s benefits are more than sufficient to justify the burdens that it imposes on women seeking abortions in Louisiana.”

The law, which has been tied up in the court system, never went into effect and will become the first major abortion decision since President Trump appointed two conservative justices to the high court.

If the Louisiana law is allowed to go into effect, doctors who terminate pregnancies would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. It would be one of the most restrictive active abortion laws in the country, and a reversal of a previous high court ruling on a similar Texas law.

A group of nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans, have urged the court to stick to existing law. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently filed a brief with the court, that said, in part, “Act 620 represents but one example of a recent wave of state legislation designed to impede access to abortion services and undermine this Court’s (previous) holdings."

"These laws reflect those states’ attempts to revisit settled constitutional law, and many lawmakers, apparently emboldened by the change in composition of the Court, have openly admitted as much.”

According to The Advocate, about 10,000 abortions are performed in Louisiana each year.

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