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The United States Law Week

SCOTUS Will Review Louisiana Abortion Admitting Privileges Law

Oct. 4, 2019, 1:37 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the validity of a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The law is nearly identical to a Texas provision the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld it anyway. After reviewing the evidence, the Fifth Circuit said there were “stark” factual differences, including geography, that meant the Louisiana law’s impact on women exercising their right to abortion wouldn’t be as great as that of the Texas provision.

Lower federal courts may not blatantly ignore Supreme Court precedent, abortion provider June Medical Services Inc. argued in its petition for review. Louisiana’s law functions the same way as the Texas provision and, if anything, imposes greater burdens on Louisiana women, the provider said. Its enforcement would leave the state with only one physician qualified to perform abortions, it said.

The Supreme Court granted June Medical’s emergency motion to prevent the law from going into effect in February. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh dissented, and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Neil M. Gorsuch also would have let the law take effect.

The Center for Reproductive Rights represents June Medical Services. The Louisiana Department of Justice and Schaerr Jaffee LLP represents the state.

The case is June Med. Servs. LLC v. Gee, U.S., No. 18-1323, review granted 10/4/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com