Officials in Louisiana react to SCOTUS ruling of state’s abortion clinic law

Louisiana News

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, early Monday, June 15, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

LOUISIANA — The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics. Soon after the decision was made, lawmakers in the state began issuing statements either supporting the decision or disagreeing with it.

State Senator Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), who authored the 2014 Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, issued a video statement just minutes after the ruling was announced.

Sen. Jackson also released the following statement: “The Supreme Court has issued a tragic decision that continues its practice of putting the interests of for-profit abortion businesses ahead of the health and safety of women. Together with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans and women and men, we passed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to protect the health and safety of women in Louisiana. While today’s decision is not what we wanted, we will never stop working to put the women of Louisiana above the interests of the abortion businesses.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La) issued the following statement, via Twitter, roughly an hour after the ruling was announced.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La) issued a short statement also: “Women who use a clinic without hospital admitting privileges are in danger of complications and death should the procedure go badly. The Supreme Court ensured this danger remains,” said Dr. Cassidy.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a statement that echoes Sen. Cassidy’s and Sen. Kennedy’s statements. The statement reads, “Today, the Supreme Court continued its heartbreaking line of decisions that places ‘access’ to abortion above the health and safety of women and girls. By putting precedent over patients, Justice Roberts gave his vote to a decision that ignored the overwhelming bipartisan support of Act 620 and the extensive record of Louisiana abortion providers’ history of medical malpractice, disciplinary actions, and violations of health and safety standards. It is deeply disappointing that the Chief Justice continues a pattern of inconsistent and groundless decisions. In his misguided effort to convince the public that the Supreme Court is not political, Justice Roberts shows how political it actually is. Just four years ago, he joined the dissenters in Hellerstedt, which struck down Texas’s law; today, the Chief Justice openly acknowledges that case was wrong but then applies it anyway. He picks and choses from a stare decisis “buffet” to avoid admitting his Court is fallible. This is not justice – this is judge-made law at its worst. Continuing to perpetuate judge-made rules that have no constitutional basis is bad for our country. It is this egregiously wrong practice that maintained decisions like Plessy, Dred Scott, and Korematsu for so long. And it reveals how far removed the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence has become from the rules that apply to all other litigants. We are past due for a course correction. When laws are passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support by the elected representatives of a state and with undisputed proof of dangerous conditions and substandard abortion providers, but they cannot survive judicial review – something is drastically wrong with the Court’s case law on this subject. I will continue to pray for all women and girls who will be exposed to the incompetent abortionists that put profits over people; and I will keep doing all that I legally can to protect the unborn, their mothers, and all Louisiana women.”

A Louisiana State Senator also issued a statement but it did not echo the sentiment that most other lawmakers shared. Sen. Karen Carter (D-New Orleans) stated, “Today, the Supreme Court defended a woman’s right to receive reproductive health care without unconstitutional barriers restricting their access. While people in my own party fall on different sides of this issue, it’s clear that the Court saw this admitting requirement for what it is: red tape aimed at closing clinics and pushing abortion out of reach.”

Congressman Ralph Abraham also responded to the ruling with a statement on his Facebook page:

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Edwards released a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling: “Throughout my career and life as a pro-life Catholic, I have advocated for the protection, dignity and sanctity of life and will continue to do so,” said Gov. Edwards. “While I voted for the law in question and am disappointed, I respect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and trust that Louisiana and our nation will continue to move forward.”

Lawmakers in other states have also begun to speak out about the ruling. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued to the following statement: “Americans hoping for justice for women and unborn babies were let down again today by John Roberts. The Chief Justice may believe that he’s protecting the institutional integrity of the Court, but in reality his politicized decision-making only undermines it.”

Nancy Northup, the Center for Reproductive Rights’ president & CEO, reacted by saying the group is relieved that the law has been blocked but stated that they are concerned that the decision could “embolden states to pass even more restrictive laws when clarity is needed if abortion rights are to be protected.”

The ACLU of Louisiana also issued a statement in support of the ruling. Alanah Odoms Hebert, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, stated, “We are tremendously relieved that the Supreme Court has struck down this law that would have decimated access to abortion in Louisiana – but this fight is not over. Coming just four years after the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical law, today’s 5-4 decision is a chilling reminder that the fundamental right to abortion remains on tenuous ground. As politicians continue to wage an all-out war on abortion access here in Louisiana and across the country, these restrictions disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities – putting their health and their bodily autonomy further at risk. This decision should motivate all of us to stay in the fight against these politically-motivated attempts to block people from care – and hold our elected officials accountable for ensuring reproductive freedom for all.”

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