(REVISED 8.19.2020) The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a new lawsuit against the state of Louisiana’s clinic licensing law that has forced most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. The law contains more than 1,000 medically unnecessary requirements that apply exclusively to clinics that provide abortion. Since the law took effect in 2001, the number of abortion clinics in Louisiana has fallen from 11 to three.
The 1,000-plus provisions in the licensing law challenged include requirements that force women to undergo a compulsory vaginal examination, regardless of her doctor’s recommendation, require doctors to provide their patients with misleading or false information about abortion, and allow the sweeping government collection and review of the medical records of every woman who has an abortion in the state.
The filing comes exactly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar clinic shutdown law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. That landmark ruling affirmed a woman’s fundamental right to access abortion, and declared that laws creating medically unnecessary obstacles on that right are unconstitutional. It also comes nearly one year after the Center for Reproductive Rights sued Louisiana over every single abortion restriction passed by the state in 2016 —including a measure which would triple the state’s mandatory delay for women seeking abortion from 24 to 72 hours and a measure which bans the most common method of second trimester abortion.
Plaintiff(s): June Medical Services, LLC d/b/a Hope Medical Group for Women, on behalf of its patients, physicians, and staff
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Larry Samuel of Rittenberg, Samuel &, Phillips LLC and Shannon Rose Selden, Debevoise &, Plimpton LLP
Summary:The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in federal district court on June 27, 2017 challenging a Louisiana clinic licensing law that contains more than 1,000 medically unnecessary requirements that apply exclusively to clinics that provide abortion. On August 29, the State filed a motion to dismiss the case. Following an oral argument in January 2018, the district court ruled largely in the Plaintiffs' favor, allowing most of the claims to proceed.
We then filed an amended complaint, which the State again moved to dismiss. On March 29, 2019, the district court denied the State's motion; on May 3, the State filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asking the appellate court to order the district court to dismiss our challenge to the licensing requirement and our equal protection claims. Following oral argument, the appellate court denied the State's motion on October 18. On December 11, the district court stayed the case pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in June Medical Services v. Russo.
On July 29, 2020, the case was voluntarily dismissed.