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Federal appeals court allows Louisiana to enforce abortion restrictions

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion,PDF] Wednesday that Louisiana may enforce an abortion law from 2014 which critics say will result in the closing of most of the state's abortion clinics. The law, which was temporarily blocked [text, PDF] by a lower court in January, requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the place he or she would be performing abortions. Supporters of the law argue that it is necessary to protect women's health, while opponents argue [WP report] that it is meant to make it nearly impossible to get abortions. Opponents also argue that the law will in fact create such a bar to abortions, causing three out of the state's four clinics to close. The court disputed the argument that it would deprive a majority of Louisiana women of access to an abortion, saying the state was likely to succeed in showing those calculations were "neither sufficient nor sufficiently reliable" to establish an undue burden on a large fraction of Louisiana women.

Abortion procedures and reproductive rights issues have been heated topics throughout the US. In February the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed [JURIST report] a lower court decision upholding a law that restricts use of medication abortion drugs. Earlier this week Ohio's governor signed [JURIST report] a bill that would purportedly cut state-funds to Planned Parenthood by $1.3 million. In November of last year the US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [JURIST report] to decide whether a Texas law, which requires that clinics have similar facilities to surgical center, posed an undue burden on the availability of abortion on the state. Oral arguments in the case will be heard next week.

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