Louisiana Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Pro-Life Law That Saves Babies, Protects Women

State   Steven Ertelt   Dec 27, 2019   |   5:55PM    Washington, DC

The U.S. Supreme Court set a date to hear a high-profile abortion case out of Louisiana and the case of June Medical Services v. Gee is scheduled for oral arguments on March 4 in front of the high court. And when the court makes a decision, Lousiana hopes the justices will side with the pro-life law that will save babies and protect women.

The Louisiana law in question requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergencies. Soon after it became law in 2014, the abortion facility Hope Medical Group for Women and the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights challenged it in court.

The law could close shoddy abortion facilities that are not prepared to help patients suffering from emergency complications. If the law goes into effect, two of the three abortion facilities in Louisiana could close.

Attorney General Jeff Landry filed Louisiana’s legal brief in defense of Act 620, the State’s common-sense admitting privileges law, today at the United States Supreme Court.

“Louisiana’s brief outlines the documented evidence of Louisiana abortion clinics’ poor safety records, inadequate credentialing practices, and efforts to undermine health and safety regulations designed to protect women,” said Attorney General Landry. “We strongly urge the Court to recognize that this evidence shows the abortion clinics’ interests are directly adverse to the interests of Louisiana women.

“We are hopeful that the Court will agree that incompetent and unsafe providers should not be allowed to challenge health and safety standards designed to protect women from those very providers,” added Attorney General Landry. “I once again thank Representative Katrina Jackson for her authorship of this common-sense, pro-woman legislation and Solicitor General Liz Murrill for her vigorous defense of the health and safety of Louisiana women.”

Solicitor General Murrill highlighted the necessity of the admitting privileges measure, the huge differences from this case and the previously argued Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and real effects of third-party standing.

“Women deserve better than incompetent providers who put profits over people,” said Solicitor General Murrill. “Louisiana is not Texas, and our case is distinguishable from Hellerstedt; our facts, our evidence, and our generally applicable medical standards are all different. This bipartisan legislation is necessary because Louisiana abortion providers have a long documented history of medical malpractice, disciplinary actions, and violations of health and safety standards.”

“The doctrine of third party standing in abortion litigation hurts women and girls; this is judge-made law that lets the fox guard the henhouse,” concluded Solicitor General Murrill. “It permits abortion providers to co-opt women’s voices in service of their own profit-driven agenda seeking to block common-sense regulations and lower health care standards.”

News broke this month that the abortion facility at the center of the case may be guilty of covering up the sexual abuse of young girls. It’s closure would be another celebration for women and children.

And the Louisiana Department of Justice announced suspicions about alleged criminal activity that may have happened at the Hope Medical Group. Then on Tuesday, the Washington Times reported that those suspicions relate to abortion facilities failing to report rapes to authorities.

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“… a survey [the Louisiana Attorney General’s office] conducted showed that between 2013 and 2018 at least 66 abortions were performed on girls 11, 12 or 13 years old. The ages indicate that the girls were survivors of rape,” according to the report.

The Louisiana Department of Justice accused the Hope Medical Group abortion business of hiding evidence of criminal and professional misconduct from the Supreme Court as it challenges a state abortion clinic regulation law. Last week, the DOJ asked a federal court to unseal documents in the case so that state authorities can investigate.

The new criminal allegations add another element of concern to the already closely watched case.

According to the state prosecutors, the possible wrong-doing normally would prompt a criminal referral. However, a federal judge sealed documents in the case, making their ability to prosecute difficult, according to the department.

“As [Department of Justice] officers, if we learn of potentially criminal activity during litigation, we have a legal obligation to report it to criminal investigators and licensing authorities,” Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill said in a statement. “We also have a basic legal duty to protect the public from dangerous behavior when we learn of it. Shockingly, Hope Medical Group is refusing to unseal this evidence and permit us to carry out our legal duties.”

Ben Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, told LifeNews he is upset the abortion facility is hiding behind the court system.

“It is appalling that this Shreveport abortion business can hide their potentially illegal activity behind federal judges.  For years, abortion businesses across Louisiana have been found to be in violation of state law, placing the health and safey of women in jeopardy.  It is no surprise that the Attorney General’s office has uncovered even more dangerous activity. We ask the 5th Circuit to unseal these records so proper law enforcement can proceed in Louisiana,” Clapper said.

Hope Medical Group in Shreveport has a history of failing to meet basic health and safety standards. In 2010, state health department officials said they found “significant health and safety risks to clients” and recommended that its license be revoked; but a judge blocked the state from closing the facility. Hope Medical Group aborts unborn babies up to 16 weeks of pregnancy.

The Louisiana law, which passed in 2014, requires doctors who do abortions to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergency situations. Pro-life Democrat state Rep. Katrina Jackson wrote the legislation.

The law was supposed to take effect earlier this year and could have closed abortion facilities that could not protect women’s health. But Chief Justice John Roberts joined the high court’s pro-abortion minority to prohibit the state from implementing the law, over the dissent of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. However, Roberts joined the pro-life side when the Supreme Court ruled on a similar Texas law.