Current Events

As  both sides of the debate square off in the streets, the U.S. Supreme Court gets ready to weigh in on the first major abortion case in years.

Current Events

Law At Issue: Act 260

  • 2014: Louisiana law (Act 260) requires an abortion provider to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the site of an abortion. The law never took effect due to legal challenges.
  • 2017: Trial court struck it down. Finding only 1 clinic & 1 doctor would be able to perform abortions, court ruled it placed an “undue burden” on women.
  • 2018: Federal appeals court disagreed and reversed the trial court’s decision.
Current Events

IMPORTANT CONTEXT:

  • In 1973, U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion *with limits* in Roe v. Wade, allowing states to set certain restrictions.
  • In 2016, the Court struck down a nearly identical law to Louisiana’s out of Texas, finding it imposed an “undue burden” on those seeking abortions.
  • Under current precedent, states can’t pass laws that impose an “undue burden” on the right to access abortion.
Current Events

“The true, and often overt, intent of legislators behind pretextual laws like Act 620, which have no demonstrable medical benefit, is to severely restrict, and ultimately eliminate, access to legal abortion under the guise of patient welfare.”

A friend of the court brief filed by 197 congressional Democrats arguing the law should be struck down. Groups like Planned Parenthood, and nearly 22 state attorneys general also filed similar briefs.
Current Events

“The burdens of Act 620 are minimal—principally, a modest increase in the waiting time (less than an hour) to obtain an abortion. The benefits described above are more than sufficient to justify that burden.”

A friend of the court brief filed by the Trump administration, urging the court to allow the law to go into effect. A similar brief was filed by more than 200 Republican (and two Democrats) members of Congress.
Current Events

Why It Matters

  • The case is the first time the Supreme Court will rule on abortion rights since Pres. Trump appointed two justices giving the court a conservative majority.
  • This case is being closely watched by other states that have or hope to pass more expansive abortion restrictions, and face legal challenges.
  • Louisiana has only 3 abortion providers in the state. If allowed to go into effect, this law will further impact access.
Current Events

BIG PICTURE: Louisiana is just one of many states that have tried to restrict access to abortion, while other states like New York and Illinois have tried to expand access. The Supreme Court will hear this case, one of the rare cases on abortion to reach the high court, on March 4th.

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