By Will Hall, Baptist Message executive editor
WASHINGTON (LBM)—The Louisiana Department of Health officially shut down, June 24, the three abortion clinics operating in the state only to have a New Orleans judge temporarily stop the action, June 27.
The controversy began June 24 after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, and overturned Roe v. Wade in the same ruling, returning authority for the regulation of abortion to the states. Louisiana has had a “trigger law” on the books since 2006 that took effect that day because SCOTUS invalidated Roe. LDH immediately issued the letters to the Women’s Health Care Center, New Orleans, Hope Medical Group for Women, Shreveport, and the Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, informing them that the state abortion ban was then in effect.
After the weekend abortion groups filed suit and Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso, a Democrat, granted a temporary restraining order that day, stopping enforcement of the ban.
This means the three clinics may resume performing abortions, a lucrative business in Louisiana last year, with 7,444 abortions garnering an estimated $3.7 million combined in the state.
The plaintiffs in the case are the Shreveport abortion clinic as well Medical Students for Hope, which has a chapter with Tulane University, New Orleans. Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Courtney Philips and Attorney General Jeff Landry are named as defendants.
Landry, a Republican with pro-life bona fides, responded, June 27, tweeting a reminder that “the laws that are now in place were enacted by the people through State Constitutional Amendments and the LA Legislature, which the citizens elect.” He added that his office is “fully prepared to defend these laws in our state courts, just as we have in our federal courts.”
A hearing on the preliminary injunction is scheduled for July 8.