Ban against enforcing Louisiana’s abortion laws remains in effect, as judge extends restraining order at least one more day

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 7:22 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - Enforcement of Louisiana’s strict anti-abortion laws remains blocked by a judge, at least for another day.

Baton Rouge Judge Donald Johnson on Monday (July 18) extended his temporary restraining order until Tuesday, as he seeks more information from attorneys in the case.

Before and after the court hearing, protesters made their presence known outside the courthouse.

“Rights are under attack - what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” they shouted.

Inside the courtroom, the judge heard arguments from lawyers representing a Shreveport abortion clinic, medical students and others challenging Louisiana’s trigger laws, which ban most abortions. There are no exceptions for rape and incest victims.

Lawyers for Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Health defended the laws. Afterward, Landry competed with protesters to be heard as he addressed the news media.

“Look, I think the plaintiffs have the biggest hurdle, you know? The plaintiffs normally are not used to losing, right? Because the problem is they lost the mothership, which is Roe,” Landry said.

The lawsuit was filed after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 struck down federal abortion rights that had been established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

State Rep. Mandie Landry (D-New Orleans), a pro-choice advocate, was in court for Monday’s hearing.

“A lot of the state’s arguments are nonsense and we got to hear all that,” she said. “So I’m hoping the judge was listening to that.”

The judge did not make a ruling Monday, but instead left his July 11 temporary restraining order in place and gave attorneys until Tuesday morning to submit written supplements to their arguments.

The lawsuit originated in New Orleans, but was transferred to Baton Rouge, the state capital.

“I think this judge wants to make sure everybody gets their say, so he can document what their positions are before he makes the ruling,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. “Everybody’s learning as they go along. This is a new frontier and they’re going to tweak things as they need to, both (sides) believe, so that’s why the judge is giving them a little more time.”

AG Landry pushed for the Louisiana Supreme Court to get involved even before the case has made its way through the lower courts.

“To have the Supreme Court just sit there idly, while we go through this legal circus, is disappointing,” he said.

Rep. Landry said she thinks the state’s highest court got it right not granting the attorney general’s request for expedited review.

“The court was succinct but, to me, clear that, you know, ‘We may get involved, just not now. It’s too early.’ This needs to play out at the lower courts. And what they mean by that is all the evidence and the testimony and the arguments need to be laid out, so that they have a record to decide something on. I think that’s the right decision by them.”

It is unclear whether the judge will issue a ruling Tuesday once he receives the additional filings from the attorneys in the case.

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