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Supreme Court temporarily blocks Louisiana abortion restrictions

Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court.
Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily blocked a restrictive Louisiana abortion law from going into effect Friday, a measure providers say would have drastically reduced the number of doctors authorized to perform the procedure.

Why it matters: This case presented a swift test to the Supreme Court’s newly strengthened conservative majority, as anti-abortion forces hope it will overturn long-standing precedents on cases concerning abortion rights. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the more liberal justices in granting the stay, with the court voting 5-4.

Details: Last week, the high court temporarily blocked the state’s abortion law, passed in 2014, from going into effect next Monday. Justice Samuel Alito said that the Court needed more time to review the various filings before ruling on the emergency application filed by an abortion provider.

  • The law requires abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles from the procedure. This mandate is nearly identical to a Texas abortion law the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in 2016, saying it would impose an "undue burden" on women’s constitutional right to abortion.
  • Lawyers at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who are representing the challengers, said the restriction would force the closure of two of the state’s three abortion clinics.

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