Abortions Can Resume In Louisiana—At Least For Now—As Trigger Bans Blocked In State Court


A Louisiana court granted a request by abortion providers to temporarily block trigger bans that outlawed the procedure in the state Monday, as pro-choice advocates try to claw back access to abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and a series of states immediately banned it.

Key Facts

Louisiana state Judge Robin M. Giarusso signed a temporary restraining order blocking Louisiana’s trigger laws, which took effect Friday and outlawed all abortions in the state, while the abortion providers’ challenge is heard.

Giarusso scheduled a hearing for July 8 on whether to grant the abortion providers’ request for a preliminary injunction that would keep the laws blocked or put them back in effect.

Abortion providers and advocates filed a lawsuit in state court against Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and state Health Secretary Courtney Phillips that argues the state’s abortion trigger bans are unlawfully vague.

Louisiana lawmakers enacted three abortion trigger bans, which the lawsuit alleges conflict with each other by imposing different punishments and regulations—one only applies to abortions after 15 weeks, for instance, while the others ban all abortions—and it’s unclear which ones have taken effect.

Landry’s office said in a statement to Forbes the state is “fully prepared to defend these laws in our state courts, just as we have in our federal courts.”

Chief Critic

“It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to utilize confusion, misinformation, and deceit as scare tactics in the face of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision,” Landry’s office said in a statement. “We would remind everyone that the laws that are now in place were enacted by the people through State Constitutional Amendments and the Louisiana Legislature, which the citizens elect representatives.”


The Louisiana litigation comes after Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit Saturday in state court seeking to strike down Utah’s abortion trigger ban, which took effect Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, and makes performing the procedure a felony. That lawsuit argues that while the U.S. Supreme Court said states can ban abortion under federal law, the trigger law violates the Utah Constitution, including its equal rights protections, right to “determine one’s family composition,” due process protections for “bodily integrity,” right to privacy and prohibition on “involuntary servitude.” The same groups then challenged Kentucky and Idaho’s trigger laws in lawsuits on Monday, similarly arguing the bans violate their states’ Constitutions.

Surprising Fact

Louisiana voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 that added the statement to the state Constitution, “Nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Louisiana is one of four states whose constitutions explicitly do not protect abortion rights, according to the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, along with Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia.

What To Watch For

More state lawsuits against abortion bans. Louisiana and Utah are two of 13 states with trigger bans that either have already banned abortion or soon will, along with states that had abortion bans that were previously blocked but were allowed to take effect after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Abortion rights advocates in Ohio have already said they intend to challenge the six-week ban that took effect in that state, for instance, and challenges to other states’ laws are likely to follow.

What We Don’t Know

If some state courts could actually make it easier to enact abortion bans. Florida, Montana, Kansas, Alaska and Minnesota all have protections for abortion rights based on previous court rulings in state supreme courts that have upheld the right to the procedure. Republicans in many of those states are now trying to challenge those precedents, however—as they already successfully did in Iowa, where the state Supreme Court overruled its precedent upholding abortion rights earlier in June. The Florida Supreme Court is likely to soon weigh in on the state’s 15-week abortion ban and has recently become more conservative, for instance, raising fears among critics the court will overturn its precedent. In Kansas, a ballot measure in August will ask voters to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to say it does not protect abortion, which would nullify the court’s earlier ruling upholding abortion rights and let lawmakers ban the procedure.

Key Background

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned its precedent in Roe v. Wade on Friday, declaring the landmark 1973 ruling “egregiously wrong” and leaving the issue of abortion rights up to the states to decide. The decision led to a near-immediate wave of statewide bans on the procedure, as trigger bans took effect and courts let laws in Alabama and Ohio that had been blocked be reimposed. Most trigger laws and abortion bans now in place make performing the procedure a felony punishable by prison time, though no laws punish the person getting the abortion.

Further Reading

Planned Parenthood sues to halt Utah’s ‘trigger law’ abortion ban (Washington Post)

Roe V. Wade Overturned: Here’s When States Will Start Banning Abortion—And Which Already Have (Forbes)

Roe V. Wade Overturned: Supreme Court Overturns Landmark Abortion Decision, Lets States Ban Abortion (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2022/06/27/abortions-can-resume-in-louisiana-at-least-for-now-as-trigger-bans-blocked-in-state-court/