Judge’s order says Louisiana can enforce abortion ban

Health

Operating room technician Nikki Jordan performs an ultrasound on a patient at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2022. She tells each patient, “You have the right to ask me any question. You have the right to take a picture home with you. You have the right to hear the heartbeat.” “Most take a glimpse (of the ultrasound) and hand it back.” Nearly two weeks after the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision was overturned, the abortion clinic is still providing abortions. But the Hope Medical Group for Women faces a looming court case on Friday that could spell an end to that. (AP Photo/Ted Jackson)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana can now enforce its ban on almost all abortions under a judge’s order issued Friday amid a flurry of court challenges to state “trigger” laws crafted to take effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The decision came the same day President Joe Biden issued an executive order to protect access to abortion in states where it is still legal and mitigate the potential penalties women seeking the procedure may face after the high court’s ruling on June 24.

Days after the Supreme Court decision, Louisiana state District Judge Robin Giarrusso issued a temporary restraining order banning enforcement of the state legislation in response to a lawsuit filed by a north Louisiana abortion clinic and others.

State District Judge Ethel Julien said Friday that she had no authority to extend the restraining order after concluding that the suit should not have been filed in her court, but in state court in the capital, Baton Rouge. She said the suit belongs there because its claims that provisions in the law are unconstitutionally vague and inconsistent are matters involving legislation.

The ruling was a victory for Attorney General Jeff Landry and lawyers for the state, who argued that the lawsuit had been improperly filed in New Orleans.

It was not immediately clear what effect the ruling would have on three clinics operating in the state. An attorney for the opponents of the law declined to comment.

“If they continue to operate, they do so under their own risk,” Landry said after the hearing.

About 60 protesters gathered outside the courthouse Friday waving signs that read, “Abortion is healthcare” and “Do you want women to die?” The demonstrators, who want to keep the state’s three abortion clinics open, criticized Landry, who has been a staunch defender of efforts to outlaw abortion across the state.

Abortion advocates in numerous states have filed court challenges to individual state laws restricting the procedure. In Mississippi, home of the case that led to the Supreme Court decision, attorneys for the state’s sole abortion clinic filed a petition on Thursday asking the state’s highest court to temporarily block a new state law that bans most abortions. The attorneys made the request on the day the law took effect and two days after a Mississippi judge rejected the same request.

Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.

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