Judge Blocks Louisiana's New Abortion Law

Suit says law would force all 5 state clinics to close
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2014 3:12 AM CDT
Updated Sep 1, 2014 4:03 AM CDT
Abortion rights supporters and anti-abortion protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – A federal judge has temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law, which requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. But lawyers and advocates appeared to disagree about whether the judge's order affects doctors at all five abortion clinics in the state or only those at three clinics whose lawsuit challenges the measure. The lawsuit claims doctors haven't had enough time to obtain the privileges and the law likely would close all five clinics.

The judge's order states that "any enforcement" of the law is forbidden until a hearing. However, his next sentences state that the law will go into effect, but plaintiffs cannot be penalized for practicing without admitting privileges during this period while their applications are still pending. The "ruling ensures Louisiana women are safe from an underhanded law that seeks to strip them of their health and rights," the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement, although the center is still analyzing the decision. In July, an appeals court ruled against a similar law that would have forced Mississippi's sole abortion clinic to close. (Read more abortion stories.)

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