06.27.22 (PRESS RELEASE) — In the aftermath of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, with local counsel Ellie Schilling, today filed a petition and request for emergency relief from the state’s so-called “trigger laws” on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women (Hope), Hope’s Administrator Kathaleen Pittman, and Medical Students for Choice. The trigger laws purport to ban abortion immediately upon Roe’s reversal, criminalizing all abortion in the state.
The emergency relief includes the request for a temporary restraining order enjoining the enforcement of the laws so that Plaintiffs can resume providing abortion care and Louisianians can access it.
Plaintiffs challenge the unconstitutionally vague trigger laws which make it impossible to tell: (1) whether any of the trigger laws are in effect; (2) if so, which one; and (3) what conduct would be prohibited, including what exceptions exist for doctors performing procedures to save a pregnant person’s life. In a stunning state of affairs, the day Dobbs was issued, state and local officials issued conflicting statements about whether and which trigger laws were actually in effect and thus what conduct—if any—was prohibited. Due process requires more.
There is tremendous urgency around this petition and emergency motion as the Dobbs decision has precipitated a tidal wave of canceled appointments and the withdrawal of critical services in states with trigger laws throughout the nation, perhaps none more so than in Louisiana where the trigger laws are immediately effective.
STATEMENT from Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: “For the first time, the Supreme Court has taken away a guaranteed personal liberty right—one that Americans have counted on for generations. A public health emergency is about to engulf the nation. As expected, Louisiana and many other states wasted no time enacting bans and eliminating abortion entirely. People who need an abortion right now are in a state of panic. We will be fighting to restore access in Louisiana and other states for as long as we can. Every day that a clinic is open and providing abortion services can make a difference in a person’s life.”
STATEMENT from Kathaleen Pittman, Administrator of the Hope Medical Group for Women, on the driving force behind the challenge to Louisiana’s trigger laws: “Seeking reproductive care is already difficult in the U.S., and especially in Louisiana. Now, as state governments are trying to ban abortion throughout the country, including in Louisiana, my heart is with our patients whose entire lives and future may change based on the next few days. We are committed to this monumental legal challenge – not to perpetuate an endless political battle, but to ensure our patients’ wellbeing and so that they may draw strength from our dedication to this fight.”
STATEMENT from Pamela Merritt, Executive Director at Medical Students for Choice, on why the organization is participating in the challenge to Louisiana’s trigger laws: “Our members are outraged and heartbroken by the Supreme Court’s decision. While we have been actively preparing for this moment, it’s never easy to see the government take human rights away from millions of people, including those in Louisiana. We have joined this important lawsuit because we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that medical students in the United States continue receiving education and training in abortion and family planning.”
STATEMENT from Joanna Wright, Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, on the legal challenge to Louisiana’s complex web of unconstitutional trigger laws: “Louisiana’s rushed and poorly conceived trigger laws are unconstitutionally vague and violate due process. The Louisiana Constitution does not tolerate such a state of affairs and this lawsuit requires Louisiana to comport with the rule of law as required by its own Constitution. It is unfortunate that in his haste to score political points in the aftermath of Dobbs, the state’s Attorney General has ushered in an era of complete disregard for women’s bodily integrity and reproductive autonomy.”
Joanna Wright from Boies Schiller Flexner and Jenny Ma from the Center for Reproductive Rights are lead counsel for plaintiffs, along with local counsel Ellie Schilling from Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEaching, LLC.
Center for Reproductive Rights: [email protected]
Boies Schiller Flexner LLP: [email protected]