Louisiana Right to Life Awaits Supreme Court Decision

June Medical Services v. Russo to Be Released in Coming Weeks

Editor’s note. This backgrounder comes from Louisiana Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate. As they note, the “June Medical Services v. Russo” case grew out of a challenge to Louisiana’s 2014  “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.” A decision from the United States Supreme Court is expected in the coming weeks.

The Background

In Louisiana, every physician at all outpatient surgical facilities, except abortion facilities, must have “admitting privileges” at a local hospital. These hospital privileges are common-sense safety protections to ensure that when an emergency happens at an outpatient facility, the physician can handle the complication without any delay by having the patient admitted to a local hospital and following up her care there. No matter how frequently complications occur, these protections are standard and should be universal across all outpatient surgical settings.

In 2014, then State Rep. (now State Senator) Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), together with Louisiana Right to Life, filed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to close this loophole and put abortion facilities on the same safety standards level as all other outpatient surgical facilities. Legislative testimony focused on the dangerous history of Louisiana abortion facilities, the common-sense nature of admitting privileges through the words of doctors, and personal testimony of women hurt physically and emotionally by abortion.

The Case 

Under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Landry and Solicitor General Liz Murrill, Louisiana has defended the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act in federal court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the current case June Medical Services v. Russo. Oral arguments were held March 4, 2020.

What’s At Stake

The constitutionality of Louisiana’s 2014 Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requiring abortion facilities in Louisiana to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Louisiana’s challenge to the third-party standing of abortion providers to bring legal challenges against health and safety regulations.

The future of abortion jurisprudence at the Supreme Court.

“We are anxiously awaiting the decision in June Medical Services v. Russo,” Louisiana Right to Life Associate Director Angie Thomas, J.D. said. “We introduced this law with then Rep. Katrina Jackson to protect the health and safety of women at for-profit abortion businesses. The Louisiana abortion industry, with its long history of health and safety violations, cannot speak for Louisiana women. The abortion facilities must be held to the same safety standards as every other Louisiana outpatient surgical facility. Together with the bi-partisan majority of Louisiana legislators who passed this law in 2014, we look forward to a decision that puts patients over profits and protects women.”