Judge Allows Pro-Life Louisiana Law That May Close Abortion Clinics to Take Effect

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 1, 2014   |   9:55AM   |   Washington, DC

A judge has issued a ruling on a pro-life Louisiana law that protects women’s health and could have resulted in closing three of the state’s five abortion clinics because they are unable to properly protect the health and safety interests of women.

The three abortion clinics that could be forced to close their doors filed suit earlier this month to block the legislation. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, that the Planned Parenthood abortion business and abortion advocates strenuously opposed.

judgepic10“This bill will give women the health and safety protections they deserve,” Jindal said.

The pro-life law, if fully enforced, will protect women by ensuring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, that informed consent protections apply to all abortions, and that facilities that perform more than five abortions maintain proper licensing.

But, three of five abortion facilities in the state, along with two abortion doctors filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge in an attempt to stop Louisiana HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, from taking effect on September 1.

Late last night, Federal District Court Judge John deGravelles issued a “limited” temporary restraining order allowing the abortion businesses to continue performing abortions until hospitals reach a decision on their applications for admitting privileges.

In an email to LifeNews, Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said the state attorneys defending the pro-life law, recognizing the precedent of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it ruled in a similar Texas case that physicians with pending applications could not be penalized, offered this as a compromise to the abortion plaintiffs Friday.  The abortion plaintiffs rejected this compromise, seeking instead a full temporary restraining order that would have gone beyond the 5th Circuit’s decision. Judge deGravelles has rejected this request.

Clapper said Judge deGravelles ordered that there will be a status conference within 30 days to receive updates on the status of admitting privilege applications. At that point, the parties will discuss how to proceed on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which will go to the underlying constitutional merits of Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.

Clapper told LifeNews: “HB 388 was overwhelmingly approved by the Louisiana Legislature as a measure to promote the continuity of care and protect the health and safety of Louisiana women. Prompt implementation of HB 388 will allow Louisiana to raise the standard of care in Louisiana abortion facilities sooner rather than later. While any delay of the law is a setback to that goal, we believe Judge deGravelles’ limited decision was a fair one. ”

“We recognize that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled in its Texas decision that physicians with pending admitting privileges applications could continue performing abortions. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has already stated it would respect the 5th Circuit’s decision. Judge deGravelles, in a fair manner, simply applied the 5th Circuit’s logic in his decision,” he said. “Unfortunately, the abortion industry’s attorneys rejected the state’s offered compromise on Friday and demanded the halting of the law completely. They are interested only in preventing the patient-centered standards from taking effect instead of working with the state to find a fair way to move forward.  The decision this evening allows the law to go into effect but provides time for hospitals to respond to the abortion physicians’ applications.”

>Clapper continued: “Since abortion was legalized in the United States, the abortion industry has virtually opposed every common-sense effort to raise medical standards at abortion facilities and give women more information about abortion and their options. They have done it again in fighting the implementation of Act 620 (HB 388). These abortion facilities want less oversight so they can sell more abortions.”

“The legal process is far from over. We thank Judge deGravelles for his fair and impartial proceedings and look forward to further litigation and the eventual full implementation of Act 620,” he added.

Click here to sign up for daily pro-life news alerts from LifeNews.com

The law will go into effect Monday since it has not been enjoined or restrained completely. if one of the abortion practitioners involved in the case has pending applications at a local hospital, he or she will be able to continue performing abortions until he or she receives a response from the hospital. This means the abortion facilities in Shreveport, Bossier City and Metairie will remain open since physicians there have pending applications at local hospitals.

Clapper said the Baton Rouge and New Orleans abortion facilities are not party to the lawsuit and therefore must abide by Act 620. It is not clear the status of admitting privileges at these facilities.

The law requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility.