U.S. Supreme Court asked to keep La. abortion law from taking effect

Some fear the law could erode Roe v. Wade
Updated: Jan. 31, 2019 at 6:39 PM CST
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Pro-life and pro-choice forces have their eyes on the U.S. Supreme Court as Louisiana fights to have a years-old abortion law finally take effect next week, and

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Pro-life and pro-choice forces have their eyes on the U.S. Supreme Court as Louisiana fights to have a years-old abortion law finally take effect next week, and opponents ask the high court to delay it.

Act 620 was passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 and affects abortion providers.

"Fundamentally, what our law requires them to do is have admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic where they are carrying out their practice of conducting abortions,” said Liz Murrill, Solicitor General in the La. Attorney General’s Office.

Anti-abortion advocates strongly support the law.

"We're absolutely supportive of Act 620 because it upholds the health and safety of women, it upholds commonsense standards,” said Alex Seghers, of Louisiana Right to Life.

Those challenging the Louisiana law want the Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay and temporarily block the law from taking effect until a lower court’s decision is appealed.

But Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office filed a 30-page document spelling out the state’s opposition to the requested stay.

"The primary focus of our opposition is to reaffirm that this is a commonsense regulation and that our facts were different from those that were presented in the Hellerstedt case, and our regulatory scheme is different, and the impact was very different,” said Murrill.

A couple of years ago a Texas law that sought to require admitting privileges was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Murrill said Louisiana’s law is not the same as Texas.

"Our law is different from the Texas scheme,” Murrill stated.

People on both sides of the abortion issue say Louisiana's law could serve as a test of how the majority conservative U.S. Supreme Court views abortion laws. And some pro-choice advocates fear the law could threaten Roe v. Wade.

But Murrill disagrees.

"I think this is a commonsense measure that ensures women will receive proper care if they have complications. I'm not sure this opens the door, and honestly, I don't think that it opens the door to the reversal of Roe versus Wade,” she said.

But others see it differently.

Alanah Odoms Hebert, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana issued the following statement:

"SCOTUS has a duty to defend and protect our fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to safe and legal abortion. Now more than ever, Louisiana women are counting on the Court. The Court has stepped in to block this very same law before. It must act again now and block this clearly unconstitutional law so that access to abortion is not decimated in LA."

Seghers said people on both sides of the issue should want women to be safe.

"We just think that it’s commonsense, in fact, for anyone that is for abortion access it doesn’t make sense that they would not be authoring the same bills because they, along with us should be supportive of making sure women aren’t subjected to substandard care,” said Seghers.

If the Supreme Court does not put the brakes on the law, it will take effect next week.

"The mandate from the 5th Circuit [Appeals Court] will issue Monday and that will cause the law to become effective,” said Murrill.

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