U.S. Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 8, 2019 - Duration: 01:43s

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law

A divided U.S. Supreme Court has stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer.

Eve Johnson reports.

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U.S. Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday (February 7) blocked a Louisiana abortion law a day before it was supposed to go into effect.

However, that action is only temporary.

The Republican-backed law passed in 2014, but has been tied up in litigation since then and has never been enforced.

It requires the doctors who perform abortions to have what's called "admitting privileges" at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

This means they're a member of the hospital staff with the right to admit their own patients in case of complications.

Without this they're not allowed to perform abortions.

However according to abortion rights groups this requirement would force the shut down of two of the state's three abortion clinics.

Thursday's ruling is the Supreme Court's first major test on abortion since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last year.

The four liberal justices were joined by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts voting 5 to 4.

Robert's vote suggests he's taken Kennedy's spot as the key vote on the issue of abortion.

On the dissenting side conservative Brett Kavanaugh, the justice appointed by Donald Trump to take Kennedy's place.

Kavanaugh said it wasn't clear whether abortion doctors would be unable to get admitting privileges.

The Supreme Court blocked a similar Texas abortion law in 2016 saying it created an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

And even though the high court has moved to pause the Louisiana abortion law abortion rights supporters fear that if it decides to take up the case the new conservative majority could move to chip away at abortion rights guaranteed by the 1973 Roe v.

Wade ruling or overturn it altogether.

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