By Dave Andrusko
It’s not as though U.S. District Judge John deGravelles hadn’t already signaled where he stood, but his decision Wednesday to permanently enjoin Louisiana’s law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles was still a bitter blow.
In early February 2016, Judge deGravelles found that the admitting privileges requirement would place an “undue burden” on Louisiana women seeking an abortion. He issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced against the clinics involved in the challenge: Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Bossier City Medical Suite in Bossier City, and Causeway Medical Clinic in Metairie.
However, on February 24, 2016, an unanimous three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the judge’s order. Louisiana agreed not to enforce the law until further notice.
In permanently enjoining Act 620 yesterday, Judge deGravelles repeatedly cited the Supreme Court’s June 27, 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down portions of the Texas omnibus pro-life law (HB 2).
As NRL News Today has noted on many occasions, plaintiffs in Hellerstedt did not contest several other components of HB 2, including a ban on abortions performed on unborn babies capable of experiencing ban.
Missouri’s Attorney General Josh Hawley criticized the judge’s decision and promised a vigorous defense. “A federal court struck down large portions of Missouri law that protect the health and safety of women who seek to obtain an abortion,” Hawley said. “This decision was wrong. I will appeal. Missouri has an obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing medical procedures in state licensed medical facilities.”
“We are reviewing [Judge John deGravelles’] opinion and will determine how to best proceed,” Attorney Elizabeth Murrill, with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, told The Associated Press.