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The Supreme Court overthrows restrictions on abortion in Louisiana

The law, enacted by judge deGravelles, was essentially identical to that of Texas that the Supreme Court annulled in the 2016 decision, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Judge Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority in that decision, said that the courts must assess whether the benefits required for laws imposing abortion restrictions outweigh the burdens on constitutional right to proceed.

There was no evidence that the requirement of Texas law admission privileges “would help even a woman get better treatment,” Judge Breyer wrote. But there was good evidence, he added, that the requirement drove the number of abortion clinics in Texas to drop from 20 to 20.

The vote in that decision was 5 to 3, with Judge Anthony M. Kennedy joining the liberal wing of four members of the court to form the majority. It was decided by an eight-member court after Judge Antonin Scalia’s death that February, and since then, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was appointed successor to Judge Scalia and Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh took over from Judge Kennedy.

In 2018, a jury divided into three New Orleans federal appeals courts reversed Judge deGravelles’ judgment and upheld Louisiana law despite the Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas case, stating that the benefits of the law have exceeded the charges imposed.

“Unlike Texas, Louisiana has some evidence of minimal benefit,” Judge Jerry E. Smith wrote for the majority. In particular, he wrote, “the admission privilege requirement performs a real, and previously unaddressed, credential function that promotes the well-being of women seeking abortion.”

Judge Smith criticized doctors who tried to provide abortions in the state for not having tried enough to obtain admission privileges and said the abortions would remain available after the law came into effect.

In dissent, Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham wrote that the majority ruling was impossible to reconcile the 2016 Supreme Court decision in the Texas case and his 1992 Planned Parenthood ruling against Casey, which banned states from imposing a ” undue burden “the constitutional right to abortion.

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