AG Landry letter to doctors on abortion amounts to political ‘horseplay’

July 1, 2022 6:00 am
Jeff Landry

Attorney General Jeff Landry sent a letter to a physician group this week telling them abortion in Louisiana is illegal after a New Orleans judge issued a stay on enforcement of the state's abortion ban. (Image via

A thoughtful reminder came from the desk of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry ahead of  the 4th of July weekend. He shared a list of summer swimming safety tips, mindful of the number of people whose holiday plans include time in the water.

His advice – wear lifejackets, never swim alone, avoid horseplay – will prove to be far more useful than the cautionary letter he sent this week to a state physician group this week. The AG warned doctors that abortion remains illegal in Louisiana despite a New Orleans judge’s stay order that temporarily blocks enforcement of the state law that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.   

Landry said the judge’s order has “limited reach,” though later in the letter he contradicts himself in saying “the order merely prohibits the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and the Attorney General from enforcing or implementing certain statutes while the order is in effect.”

What also stands out about Landry’s letter is the recipient. He chose not to send it to the three clinics where abortions are allowed for now or to the limited number of physicians who are licensed to perform abortions in Louisiana. While that information is not easily accessible to the public for safety reasons, one would think the head of the Louisiana Department of Justice would be able to ascertain the individuals he needed to reach.

If the letter was a flex from Jeff Landry to display his political muscle ... it was a weak one at best.

Instead, Landry sent his letter to the Louisiana State Medical Society, a professional organization representing about 6,000 current doctors and those in training. The organization’s primary mission is to assist physicians with keeping their licenses and training current as well as professional advancement in the industry.

That meant the letter was intended for your family doctor, your child’s pediatrician, your Aunt Tillie’s podiatrist and your neighbor’s orthopedic surgeon who he just can’t stop bragging about. 

“He is trying to scare doctors, that’s all he’s doing,” state Rep. Mandy Landry, an abortion rights attorney and no relation to the attorney general, told WRKF-FM. “Everything he said in there … is just his opinion. It doesn’t mean anything because he is not a judge. That’s the short of it. Separation of powers. Maybe he forgot about that from law school.” 

As Mandie Landry points out, the attorney general’s letter has no binding power of law. Plus, the AG fully acknowledges the judge’s stay blocks any enforcement effort while it’s in effect.

If the letter was a flex from Jeff Landry to display his political muscle while abortion has the spotlight in Louisiana, it was a weak one at best. 

He’s better off following his own advice and staying in shallow waters on this issue.


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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune |, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.