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Baton Rouge judge blocks Louisiana's abortion ban, allowing clinics to stay open for now

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BATON ROUGE - A judge has ruled against Louisiana's trigger laws banning abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, allowing clinics to continue operating until a lawsuit over the controversial ban is resolved.

Judge Don Johnson made the decision Thursday.

Abortion access has flickered in the state for weeks after federal abortion protections were dissolved. A lawsuit was initially filed by pro-abortion activists in New Orleans, prompting a temporary restraining order stopping the ban from being enforced. 

That lawsuit—which alleges the language in the trigger laws is too vague—was moved to Baton Rouge, the state's capital, earlier this month.

This is something Sarah Zagorski with the Louisiana Right to Life disagrees with. 

"The law is very specific to ensure that physicians can care for women that are in life-threatening situations, that physicians can care for miscarriage situations," Zagorski said.

She also went on to call Thursday's decision disappointing but believes a judge will soon agree with pro-life activists. 

"It's in an insult to Louisiana residents, to our legislature... it's a time delay, ultimately, but in the end, we think life will prevail," Zagorski said.

Attorney General Jeff Landry, who's spearheaded the legal fight in favor of the ban, has said he expects the case to go to the State Supreme Court. His team filed a suspensive appeal Friday seeking to suspend Judge Johnson's ruling until the matter is taken up in an appellate court. 

“We look forward to ending this legal circus by getting the case to the State’s Supreme Court as soon as possible – especially, as Justice Crain recently noted, terminating alleged life during the period of a restraining order is irreparable harm,” Landry said in a statement Thursday.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit, released the following statement.

“Today’s decision will allow so many people in Louisiana and neighboring states to continue to chart their own lives and futures. Patients have been terrified that any day these bans might take effect again and they’ll be left with no options. But this ruling means doctors can provide healthcare that is best for their patients, and not be subject to laws that are so ambiguous that they don’t know how they can do their jobs. While today’s decision is not the final ruling, it is a huge victory in preserving access to essential healthcare in Louisiana and for those in the region.”

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