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Abortions can resume in Louisiana after state court temporarily blocks "trigger" bans

Dobbs ruling reignites abortion rights battle
Dobbs ruling reignites abortion rights battle 02:46

Washington — A state court in Louisiana on Monday blocked enforcement of the state's "trigger" bans on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's blockbuster decision overturning Roe v. Wade, allowing the procedure to resume in the state for now.

The order, from Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso, came in response to a request from a Louisiana abortion clinic and its administrator, which argued the trigger laws banning abortion in the state were unconstitutionally vague. 

The court will hold a hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order July 8.

In their filing asking for implementation of the trigger laws to be halted, lawyers for Hope Medical Group, administrator Kathaleen Pittman and the organization Medical Students for Choice argued three trigger bans enacted by the state legislature should be struck down "because they fail to provide constitutionally guaranteed notice of exactly what conduct is prohibited, if any, and when."

The abortion providers also said the bans "improperly delegate legislative power ... to everyone and no one at the same time" under the state constitution.

Louisiana is one of 13 states that enacted laws to make abortion illegal if and when the Supreme Court overruled Roe, the landmark 1973 decision that established the constitutional right to an abortion. The high court did just that Friday, triggering the measures under which abortion would either be banned immediately or after certification by designated state officials. Trigger bans have taken effect in at least half a dozen states.

Louisiana passed its first trigger ban criminalizing nearly all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest, in 2006, and went on to enact two other measures in anticipation of the Supreme Court's opinion. The laws make it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion.

Shortly after the high court issued its decision Friday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced on Twitter the state's bans were in effect. But the president of the New Orleans City Council said there were "open legal questions" about the state's laws and urged the district attorney not to prosecute patients or physicians "given these legal uncertainties, but predominantly due to the dangerous implications to women's health."

The Supreme Court's decision ending the constitutional right to an abortion came in a case involving a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ruling from the high court sends the issue back to the states and their elected officials, resulting in a patchwork of laws with access depending on where a person lives.

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