Supreme Court to Hear Louisiana Abortion Case Next Week—We’ll Be Rallying Outside!

The Roberts Court, November 30, 2018. Seated, from left to right: Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Standing, from left to right: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.

The nation will soon find out just how respectful of precedent Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch are when it comes to U.S. abortion law.

Next week, at 10:00am on Wednesday, March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo [i]. It’ll be the first abortion-related case the two new justices hear.

And if the decisions of Trump-appointed judges over the last three years can be used as a predictor of how his two justices will vote, we can expect this Supreme Court decision to spotlight just how politicized the courts have become since Trump took office.

The most ridiculous thing about this case is that it’s redundant. The Supreme Court already decided in 2016 in Texas-based case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that it’s unconstitutional to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals because of the undue burden it places on patients when clinics close and patients have to travel farther to receive care. (It’s nearly impossible for providers to acquire admitting privileges because they have to admit a certain number of patients on a regular basis in order to qualify—and because abortion is one of the safest out-patient procedures, providers can’t reach the required patients-admitted threshold.)

Admitting privileges are unnecessary anyway. Hospitals admit patients regardless of whether they are being sent by a physician with official privileges. No patient is going to go untreated if suffering abortion complications because their doctor doesn’t have a relationship with a nearby hospital. Requiring Louisiana providers to get something that hospitals can’t give them only hurts the state’s patients, placing an “undue burden on abortion access,” which—as decided in the Texas case—is unconstitutional.

If the Louisiana law, which passed in 2014 but has been on hold ever since, goes into effect, the state will be left with only one abortion provider. It’s difficult to see how this wouldn’t be an “undue burden on abortion access” for Louisiana’s 900,000+ women of reproductive age. [ii]

Our DC staff will be loudly condemning Louisiana Act 620 at the #MyRightMyDecision rally at the Supreme Court at 8:00am on Wednesday, March 4. There will be a rally in New Orleans as well—same time, different place!

The rallies will be hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Citizen SHE UnitedLift Louisiana, and the New Orleans Abortion Fund. If you can’t make it to the rallies in DC or in Louisiana, you can stream them on the Center for Reproductive Rights YouTube channel. And you can always push the needle in the right (progressive, rights-based) direction by talking with friends and family about laws like these, the people they harm, and why they should be struck down.

[i] The case was originally called June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee. Rebekah Gee was the Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health up until last month, at which point she resigned. Stephen Russo is the interim secretary, and the case has been renamed to reflect that.

[ii] Population Projections, United States, 2004 – 2030, by state, age and sex, on CDC WONDER Online Database, September 2005. Accessed at on Feb 26, 2020 2:39:56 PM


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