US Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law

The Court’s landmark ruling ends a controversial abortion law that saw access to abortions restricted in the state.

In a 5-4 ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a Louisiana law restricting access to abortions as unconstitutional, delivering a blow to anti-abortion groups.

The law required that doctors who performed abortions in the state to “admitting privileges” – written agreements with local hospitals to transfer patients – with hospitals “not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced”.

While the state said that this requirement was necessary for protecting the health of patients, abortion advocates said that abortion patients rarely require a hospital transfer and that many of hospitals in the state did not allow abortions to take place on their premises, leaving abortion clinics unable to operate.

By thus restricting access to abortions, advocates claimed, the law acted against women’s constitutional right to an abortion as found in the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices in delivering the 5-4 ruling, and in his written opinion referenced a similar law in Texas that was deemed unconstitutional in 2016, establishing precedent for the Court’s decision on Monday.

The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents,” he wrote.

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