SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, sided with the liberals on the court in a five to four ruling, to block a controversial Louisiana abortion law. The ruling is being viewed as a win for supporters of abortion rights.
Monday, Supreme Court ruling means that all three Louisiana abortion clinics will remain open for service, including the one at the center of the Supreme Court’s decision, HOPE Medical in Shreveport.
“6 very, very, long years to say we are elated hardly begins to come close, to what we are feeling,” said Kathleen Pitman, HOPE Medical Administrator.
In a 5 to 4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of June Medical Service in their fight against the state of Louisiana on abortion rights.
“This week we’re winning the battle, and that means we can stay open to fight another day. But as a provider, I’ll tell you I’m celebrating today, but I’m still worried about our future,” said Pitman.
The Louisiana admitting privileges law is now eliminated. The law prevents doctors from providing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion is provided. Those who pushed for it are dishearted by the federal ruling.
“The legislative process and the will of this state were usurped by five judges, it was overwhelming passed, it was authored by women, it was written by women, it was the will of this state and yet the supreme court, a few people come in and strike it down,” said Angie Thomas, Attorney Right for Life Group.
The Supreme Court agreed the law was identical to a case out of Texas, Whole Woman’s Health Vs. Hellerstedt, that they struck down two years ago.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with conservatives justices then, but Monday he sided with the court’s liberal justices.
“Indeed today the court did not speak in one voice there is a concurrence from Chief Justice Roberts that relies heavily on prescient and we do have some concerns about it muddying the waters going forward,” said Nancy Northup, President, and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Reproductive Rights Group says Roberts opinion will lead to more litigation on abortion rights.
“He did say at the start of his opinion that he continues to believe that Whole Woman’s Health was wrongly decided at the time, so that’s obviously concerning for us, especially giving the clear medical consensus that these types of admitting privileges law have no health and safety benefits for patients at all,” said Julie Rikelman, senior litigation director and lead attorney for June Medical Services v. Russo.
Right to Life says Justice Roberts opinion further establishes legal consistency with the issue.
“What these means to us is that we can continue to fight for incremental legislation that will help women and that will help unborn children and we will never stop fighting for that,” said Thomas.
Both groups say more litigation on this issue is forthcoming. Most notably addressing a 72-hour waiting period before receiving access to abortion.