Louisiana abortion ban temporarily lifted by New Orleans judge

By: - June 27, 2022 12:05 pm

A pro-choice activist holds up a sign during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade May 3, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A state district judge in New Orleans on Monday temporarily lifted Louisiana’s abortion ban until July 8, when the court will consider a legal challenge to the ban from a Shreveport abortion clinic, the clinic’s administrator and a medical student abortion rights organization based at Tulane University.

“Hoping to start procedures again tomorrow. We have patients here today for consults,” said Kathaleen Pittman, who runs the Shreveport abortion clinic, Hope Medical Group for Women, in an email Monday.

Pittman, as an individual, is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

Attorney General Jeff Landry and Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Courtney Phillips, who serves under Gov. John Bel Edwards, are defendants in the lawsuit. Landry’s office said will represent the state and  defend Louisiana’s abortion ban in court.

“It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to utilize confusion, misinformation, and deceit as scare tactics in the face of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision,” Landry wrote on Twitter Monday.

All Louisiana three clinics halted abortions last Friday, within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion that entitled people to abortion access in all states. Louisiana has so-called “trigger laws” that were designed to automatically prohibit almost all abortion in the state based on that court decision.

Yet the Shreveport abortion clinic and other plaintiffs argue that Louisiana’s multiple, conflicting abortion bans are “vague” and do not make clear whether an abortion ban has taken effect, who enforces the ban and what the penalties are for performing illegal abortions.

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso has only granted a temporary restraining order on the ban, meaning the court could put it back in place as early as July 8, when the first hearing on the case will be held. 

The Shreveport clinic is checking with patients who were scheduled to have abortions this week to see if they are keeping their appointments, Pittman said. It will then try to “fill in” with those whose abortion appointments were canceled on Friday and Saturday, when the abortion ban was thought to be in place.  

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.