A lawsuit in federal court today may temporarily stall the closure of most Louisiana abortion clinics.
Three Louisiana abortion clinics and two physicians are challenging a May law which would make it nearly impossible for abortion doctors to practice in clinics. The law, which goes into effect Monday, requires doctors to have the privileges to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles.
That would end abortions in at least three of five Louisiana clinics. The doctor at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport has such privileges.
But Kathaleen Pittman, administrator at Hope Medical, said her clinic risks losing that physician, who might quit even though he has admitting privileges.
"If he is the only doctor in the state left to perform procedures, that is a burden he is unwilling to shoulder given the harassment he has endured over the years," Pittman wrote in an email.
Hope Medical joins Bossier City Medical Suite and New Orleans area abortion provider Causeway Medical Clinic, along with two unnamed physicians known as John Doe 1, M.D., and John Doe 2, M.D., in the lawsuit.
Those clinics' representatives will ask Judge John deGravelles to freeze implementation of the law while Louisiana abortion doctors continue the lengthy process of applying for admitting privileges, according to Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
If the judge rules the law should be implemented as written, Rikelman said abortion rights advocates must re-evaluate and reconsider their legal tactics. She said deGravelles indicated he will rule before Sept. 1, though that isn't guaranteed.
Louisiana abortion practices will remain unchanged if deGravelles blocks the law from taking effect, but the delay in its implementation is the first step of fighting to erase the law entirely, according to William Rittenberg of Rittenberg, Samuel and Phillips, also representing the clinics.
"The governor and Legislature pretend to pass laws because they care about the health of the mother, which is interesting because they also believe the mother is a murderer," Rittenberg said. "No question: this law is there to make it more difficult for women to get abortions."
By Maya Lau and Adam Duvernay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The Shreveporttimes