Louisiana Court Order May Shut All But One Abortion Clinic

Updated on
  • Clinic supporters to seek U.S. Supreme Court intervention
  • Nation's high court scheduled to hear Texas case next week

A New Orleans appeals court order may force the closure of all but one abortion clinic in Louisiana unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

The appeals court on Wednesday blocked a federal judge’s order which had put on hold a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have local hospital admitting privileges. That would force three of the four abortion clinics in the state to close, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Clinic supporters say they’ll immediately ask the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and keep the facilities open while the court challenge continues. The nation’s high court is scheduled to hear arguments over a similar Texas law next week.

QuickTake The Vanishing U.S. Abortion Clinic

The Supreme Court clash over the Texas law, which also requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, will help determine the fate of more than 200 abortion restrictions enacted by states since a Republican-led push began in 2011. The court will probably rule in June, in the midst of the presidential campaign.

The appeals court accepted Louisiana’s claim that the new limits don’t create significant obstacles to most women seeking to end pregnancy. Louisiana said fewer than 10 percent of women wouldn’t have access to abortions as a result, while the lower court judge had determined that 45 percent to 99 percent of the women in the state would be left without access to legal abortions.

“Today’s ruling thrusts Louisiana into a reproductive health care crisis, where women will face limited safe and legal options when they’ve made the decision to end a pregnancy,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in an e-mailed statement.

The case is June Medical Services L.L.C., 16-30116, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).