Louisiana officials are blocked from enforcing laws totally banning abortion pending a July 8 state court hearing that will delve more deeply into their legality.
The case follows hard on the heels of the US Supreme Court’s June 24 decision that overturned two seminal cases recognizing a constitutional right to abortion before viability.
Judge Robin M. Giarrusso signed a temporary restraining order Monday, just hours after June Medical Services LLC filed a petition arguing that the trigger bans are unconstitutionally vague. Giarrusso didn’t explain the decision. She scheduled a hearing on a preliminary injunction for early July.
The order allows abortions to resume in the state.
Louisiana is one of 13 states identified by the Guttmacher Institute as having laws banning abortions that were designed to kick in automatically once Roe v. Wade was overturned. Abortion providers already are fighting a similar law in Utah.
June Medical, which does business as Hope Medical Group for Women, is one of only three abortion providers in Louisiana. It’s currently fighting to invalidate three separate laws that purport to completely ban abortion.
It’s impossible to tell which of these trigger laws, if any, is in effect—as witnessed by conflicting statements issued by state and local officials, the provider said. Beyond that, it’s impossible to tell what conduct the laws prohibit, what exceptions apply, and the criminal penalties they impose, given the laws’ inconsistencies, it said.
For example, a law adopted in 2006, imposes a fine of not more than $1,000, up to two years in prison, or both, June Medical said. The second ban sets a minimum one-year jail term, with a maximum of 10 years, and a mandatory fine of not less than $10,000. The third law—which sets a 15-week gestational age limit for abortions—sets a maximum 15-year prison term and a fine of no less than $20,000, the petition said.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, and Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEachin LLC represent June Medical.
The case is June Med. Servs. LLC v. Landry, La. Dist. Ct., No. 22-5633, 6/27/22.