Several abortion providers in Louisiana sued to strike down state laws that restricted abortion access by requiring them to be staff members with admitting privileges in hospitals no further than 30 miles from their clinic. A similar law passed in Texas had caused nearly half of the state’s abortion clinics to close. In striking down the law, the district court found that, given Louisiana’s existing regulations, the law did not further women’s health and was nothing more than an abortion restriction.
Before the new state law was passed, Louisiana law already required abortion providers to possess admitting privileges to local hospitals or have a patient transfer agreement with a physician with admitting privileges. The new challenged law required them to be staff members with admitting privileges in hospitals no further than 30 miles from their clinic. The district court found that less than one per several thousand patients who received an abortion required hospitalization, and that admitting privileges were irrelevant to a patient’s care. Thus, there was no evidence that there was a health care issue for the law to address, and thus, no evidence that the State’s interest in women’s health would be furthered.
The district court issued a permanent injunction preventing the law from taking effect. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction, on the grounds the district court’s findings of fact did not indicate the law substantially burdened women’s right to an abortion. The plaintiffs subsequently appealed to the US Supreme Court.
The League of Women Voters of the United States, and 11 other civil rights organizations, filed an amicus brief led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights supporting the abortion providers. The brief detailed the poverty and systemic oppression faced by Black women in Louisiana and urged the Court to uphold the district court’s ruling. Failing to do so would further restrict abortion access in Louisiana and exacerbate the barriers faced by Black and low-income women in Louisiana.
The Court found that the Louisiana law was effectively identical to the Texas law overturned in Whole Woman’s Health and agreed with the district court’s findings. It further stated the Circuit Court applied the wrong standard in reviewing the district court’s ruling, and that the facts of the case indicated the law at issue substantially burdened abortion rights in Louisiana. The district court’s permanent injunction was upheld, and the law was no longer in effect.
Plaintiffs file complaint in District Court
Several abortion providers sue, alleging Louisiana’s new restrictions on abortion providers unduly burdened abortion rights, in violation of federal law.
Plaintiffs file First Amended Complaint
District Court issues a preliminary injunction
Fifth Circuit reverses district court’s injunction
The Fifth Circuit reverses the district court’s ruling, stating its findings of fact did not indicate the law substantially burdened women’s right to an abortion.
Plaintiffs file Petition for Writ of Certiorari
The plaintiffs ask the US Supreme Court to hear the case.
Supreme Court grants plaintiffs’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari
LWVUS and partners file Amicus Brief
The League and 13 other civil rights organizations file an amicus brief in support of the abortion providers.
Supreme Court hears oral argument
Supreme Court issues opinion
The Court upholds the district court’s ruling, striking down the Louisiana law as unconstitutional.