A ruling from a judge released on Friday, amid a rush of judicial challenges to state “trigger” laws designed to go into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, allows Louisiana to enforce its ban on practically all abortions.
The decision was made on the same day that President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect access to abortion in areas where it is still legal and to lessen any potential consequences that women seeking the procedure might face in the wake of the high court’s June 24 decision.
In response to a lawsuit brought by a north Louisiana abortion clinic and others, Louisiana District Judge Robin Giarrusso issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the execution of the state legislation days after the Supreme Court decision.
State District Judge Ethel Julien declared on Friday that the lawsuit shouldn’t have been filed in her court and that she lacked the authority to prolong the restraining order. She asserted that the lawsuit’s allegations that some legal provisions are unconstitutionally ambiguous and contradictory involve legislation and should, therefore, be tried in state court in the nation’s capital, Baton Rouge.
Attorney General Jeff Landry and the state’s legal team won the case because they contended that the complaint had been wrongfully filed in New Orleans.
The law’s opponents’ lawyers did not provide specifics regarding their next move, but they did state that they would keep pursuing the matter in Baton Rouge. Lead attorney Joanna Wright stated, “This was a ruling on a technicality that had nothing to do with the merits of our case, which were not examined or taken into consideration by the parties or the court today. This conflict is not over yet.
No procedures or counseling were scheduled at either abortion clinic in the days following Julien’s decision, according to Amy Irvin, a spokeswoman for the facilities in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She clarified, however, that the choice did not signal the closure of the clinics. She stated that before selecting their next course of action, clinic owners would wait for a ruling from the state court in Baton Rouge.
The principal plaintiff in the lawsuit, the administrator of the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, informed The Associated Press that all Saturday abortion appointments had been canceled by the clinic’s staff. No treatments or consultations were scheduled for Friday, according to Kathaleen Pittman. Next week, she said, the clinic would continue to set up appointments for women to receive counseling and ultrasounds.
It’s distressing. It’s quite challenging. Indeed, it’s a challenging day,” Pittman added.
Following Julien’s decision, Landry warned clinics and medical professionals not to perform abortions in the courts. They operate at their own risk, according to Landry, if they continue to do so.
Friday, some 60 protestors gathered in front of the courthouse and held posters that said, “Do you want women to die?” and “Abortion is healthcare.” The protesters, who support maintaining access to abortion services in the state, denounced Landry, who has been a steadfast supporter of initiatives to criminalize abortion throughout the state.
Advocates for abortion rights have challenged legislation prohibiting the procedure in court in various states. Attorneys for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic on Thursday petitioned the state’s highest court to temporarily overturn a new law that outlaws the majority of abortions. Mississippi is the location of the case that resulted in the Supreme Court’s decision. The motion was made by the lawyers on the day the law went into effect and was denied two days later by a judge in Mississippi.
The narrative has been changed to make clear that Julien did not lift the order, but rather stated that she lacked the authority to do so after deciding the matter didn’t belong in her court.