(PRESS RELEASE) Late yesterday a federal court ratified an agreement blocking enforcement of two provisions within Louisiana's new abortion ultrasound law. The court's order follows an agreement that was reached earlier this week between the Center for Reproductive Rights and Louisiana state officials. One of the measures potentially would have required facilities to provide a woman seeking an abortion with a photograph of her ultrasound image, even if she was a rape or incest victim. The other prohibited medical facilities from providing abortion until the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) compiled a list of facilities in the state where ultrasounds would be available to women free of charge. The DHH, however, indicated that it would not be able to complete the list prior to the date when the law went into effect -- which meant that abortion would have been banned possibly for weeks or months until the list was completed.
"We are very pleased with the agreement we reached with the state," said Stephanie Toti, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "Doctors need to be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients, not in the best interest of politicians."
On August 6, the Center challenged the two measures of the ultrasound statute along with a law excluding doctors who provide abortion services from participating in a state-run medical malpractice fund. Earlier this week, the state agreed to not enforce the ultrasound provisions. And yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ordered the state to comply with the terms of the agreement.
The Center for Reproductive Rights will move forward with the remainder of the lawsuit challenging the exclusion of abortion providers from the insurance fund.