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Supreme Court blocks controversial Louisiana abortion law

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] a Louisiana abortion law that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital and significant surgical upgrades to abortion centers. In a one-sentence order, the Court reinstated the stay initially put in place by the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in the case of June Medical Services v. Gee [SCOTUSblog report], but that had been vacated [order, PDF] by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals [official websites] in late February. Critics of the law say it is unduly burdensome on women. Critics argue that if the law is enforced, then all except one abortion clinic in the state will be forced to shut down, and that last clinic will be unable to meet the needs of the state. It also argues that the law creates unreasonable delays for women who need abortions, and does not further valid state interests. Proponents contend that the law is legitimate in light of the state's interest in regulating health.

The order indicated that the temporary block may hinge on the outcome of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which the Court heard argument on [JURIST report] earlier this week. Abortion procedures and issues of reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] have been heated topics throughout the US. Last month the Indiana Senate released a bill [JURIST report] from committee that would ban abortions based on genetic disabilities and would also require aborted or miscarried fetuses to be cremated or interred. Also last month the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed [JURIST report] a lower court decision upholding a law that restricts use of medication abortion drugs. Just prior, Ohio's governor signed [JURIST report] a bill that would purportedly cut state-funds to Planned Parenthood by $1.3 million.

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