And the stakes just keep getting higher: With less than a month to go until the biggest abortion case in more than a decade goes before the Supreme Court, a new law passed in Louisiana will force most of the abortion clinics in the state to close.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that Louisiana could mandate that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic.
The outcome undoes a previous district court decision that maintained the law violates women's constitutional rights. The three-judge panel defended the decision, saying, "We reversed the district court and permitted the law to go into effect because the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that the law placed an undue burden on a large fraction of women."
Meanwhile, 4.7 million people in Louisiana will now depend on only one abortion clinic for safe and legal services.
Reminder: The Fifth Circuit Court is the very same that twice approved similar requirements in Texas for abortion providers. Since then, about half of in-state abortion clinics have been shuttered. And it's that decision that will be revisited at the Supreme Court over the next few weeks.
"We will immediately seek emergency relief from the Supreme Court so these clinics are able to reopen and continue serving the women of Louisiana," said Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center of Reproductive Rights, in a statement. "Whether in Louisiana, Texas, or elsewhere, women should not be forced to run to court year after year to protect their fundamental rights."
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