On Friday, the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to block the enforcement of a Louisiana law designed to limit the number of abortion providers in the state by instituting unnecessary medical regulations.

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The law required doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals in the vicinity. It had already forced two clinics to close, and threatened the closure of a third, leaving only one clinic left in the entire state.

That the court struck down such a law signals that it (specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy) might be willing to do the same for HB 2, a similar law in Texas that relies on building codes in order to find abortion clinics medically deficient, which the court heard arguments for earlier this week.

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The L.A. Times reports that a federal judge had blocked Louisiana from enforcing the law after finding that hospitals were generally reluctant to grant privileges to doctors who provided abortions.

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But on Feb. 24th, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had earlier upheld the Texas abortion law, lifted the judge’s order blocking enforcement of the Louisiana law.

Abortion-rights lawyers filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court via Justice Clarence Thomas. Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Thomas agreed to handle such appeals arising from the 5th Circuit...

The order will keep the law on hold until the Supreme Court rules on the Texas case.

“For the third time in a little over a year, the Supreme Court has stepped in to preserve women’s ability to get the constitutionally-protected health care they need,” said Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights in a statement.

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“Our constitution, along with nearly half a century of legal rulings, is clear that women have the right to make critical decisions about their life and health without interference from politicians. These underhanded tactics to cut off women’s access to safe, legal abortion simply cannot stand.”


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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Image via Getty.