Rebecca Santana / AP
NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana officials have been barred once again from enforcing a nearly complete ban on abortion, this time under a judge’s order issued Tuesday by a state court in the capital.
Judge Donald Johnson’s order temporarily halts enforcement, while attorneys at the Northern Louisiana Clinic and other advocates of abortion rights pursue a trial challenging the law. Johnson fixed the hearing for next Monday.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry criticized the decision. series of posts on Twitter.
“It’s disappointing to make a legal circus out of the judiciary,” Landry wrote in a post.
He said, “The rule of law must be followed, and I will not rest until it is done. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little longer for that to happen.”
Kathleen Pittman, director of the Northern Louisiana Clinic, who was the main plaintiff in the lawsuit, expressed relief in a phone interview. Pittman said the Hope Medical Group for Women clinic in Shreveport is ready to resume counseling and abortion. Two other Louisiana clinics are in the capital, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Joanna Wright, an attorney for the clinic, said: “We look forward to arguing the preliminary injunction before Judge Johnson next Monday, and in the meantime, we take solace in the fact that the state of Louisiana has a critical health service for women.” has been reinstated.” , said in an email.
The lawsuit originated in New Orleans, where a judge issued a temporary order blocking enforcement on June 27, just three days after the US Supreme Court overturned a 1973 decision establishing abortion rights nationwide.
But a second judge in New Orleans on Friday sent the case to Baton Rouge, saying state law requires that it be heard in the capital. Judge Ethel Julian then said that since the case was no longer scheduled to be heard in his court, he did not have the authority to extend a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law.
Prior to Johnson’s decision, which was due on Monday, July 11, Landry’s lawyers argued in a filing in Baton Rouge that the temporary restraining order could not be renewed once it expired.
Louisiana’s law contains “trigger language” that took effect when the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights.
The plaintiffs at the trial don’t deny that the state can now ban abortions as a result of the Supreme Court ruling, but they say current state law is unconstitutionally vague. He argues that there are multiple, conflicting trigger mechanisms now in law in Louisiana. They also argue that state law is unclear whether it prohibits abortion prior to the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
And while the law provides an exception for “medically nonsensical” pregnancies in cases of fetuses with malignant abnormalities, the plaintiffs note that it provides no definition of the term and that state health officials have yet to define those terms. List not provided who would be eligible. The suit claims that state law on when the ban takes effect and its medical exceptions is unclear.