Admitting privileges issue revived at abortion clinics

June 29, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge refused Wednesday to immediately reinstate a law requiring that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

That law was blocked in 2017 by a the judge, who said it illegally affected a woman’s right to an abortion. The state argues that Friday’s Supreme Court ruling reversing the right to abortion means the law can be enforced.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles said he would not take immediate action. He ordered full briefing on the issue, thereby providing more time for the three state abortion clinics. Abortion rights advocates have said in the past that the admission privileges law would likely force clinics in Shreveport and Baton Rouge to close.

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Abortions remain legal in Louisiana under a state judge’s order in a pending lawsuit against state laws banning abortion. The laws were designed to take effect once the 1973 ruling establishing abortion rights was overturned. A hearing is set for July 8 in that case.

In a court filing Monday the state argued “there is no remaining legal or equitable basis for the permanent injunction” blocking the admitting privileges law.

Abortion rights attorneys answered Wednesday, arguing “a subsequent change in the underlying law in a different case is not a sufficient basis to vacate a permanent injunction.”