LOUISIANA, July 22 ― A Louisiana judge yesterday blocked enforcement of the state's abortion bans while a Florida appeals court declined to put back on hold a prohibition on abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy that took effect earlier this month.
The rulings came amid a flurry of litigation over abortion bans that began springing into effect in mostly Republican-led states after the US Supreme Court last month overturned the constitutional right to the procedure nationwide.
In Louisiana, Judge Donald Johnson issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing so-called “trigger” laws designed to ban abortions if the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, as it did June 24.
In Florida, a state appeals court on a 2-1 vote rejected a request by abortion clinics to allow a recently-paused injunction that would block enforcement of the state's 15-week ban to take effect, saying a lower-court judge lacked authority to issue it.
Judge Bradford Thomas, writing for the majority in the Florida First District Court of Appeal's decision, said that only the clinics' patients, and not the clinics themselves, could claim their privacy rights were being irreparably harmed.
About half of the states have or are expected to seek to ban or curtail abortions following the conservative-majority US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Those states include Louisiana, which like 12 other states adopted “trigger” laws banning abortion upon such a decision.
Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, one of Louisiana's three abortion clinics, sued to resume services, arguing the trigger laws were vague, conflicted with each other, and violated its state constitutional due process rights.
A New Orleans judge on June 27 temporarily blocked the laws' enforcement, but they went back into effect after a different judge July 8 transferred the case to Baton Rouge.
Johnson then put a temporary hold on the laws' enforcement on July 12 while he considered whether to issue yesterday's preliminary injunction.
State Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry said he would ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to bring an end to the “legal circus.” ― Reuters