How does the Supreme Court ruling in Texas affect abortion laws in Louisiana?

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 4:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is assessing the US Supreme Court decision to uphold a Texas law to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The governor reiterated support for more restrictive abortion laws, but legal experts say it’s too soon to say whether the Supreme Court ruling will have any impact in Louisiana.

The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions, offering only a glimmer of daylight for clinics in the state to challenge the nation’s most restrictive abortion law.

The decision, little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, was greeted with dismay by abortion rights supporters but praise by opponents.

The court’s conservative majority also seems likely to roll back abortion rights in a Mississippi case that was argued last week, although that decision is not expected until spring.

If Roe is overruled, the fight over the Texas law would be largely beside the point because Texas, like Louisiana, is one of 12 states with a trigger law that would ban abortion in a post-Roe world.

Louisiana lawmakers are watching closely.

More: Court won’t stop Texas abortion ban, but OKs clinics’ suit

“I do fully expect way more abortion restrictions to be filed this year, I don’t know how to get them all done we already have about 100 in our state,” said Rep. Mandie Landry (D-New Orleans).

The Texas law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and while it remains in place, the Supreme Court said clinics challenging it can continue to fight in lower federal courts, something which Texas lawmakers also tried to prohibit.

“It seems as if it’s a split decision of a sort and they upheld the law but they will allow it to be challenged federally... which is kind of a victory for each side,” said Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Gove. Edwards was still assessing the Supreme Court decision but has endorsed several more restrictive abortion bills in Louisiana.

“We already have a heartbeat bill here and I’ve signed it in a law, so it is what it is in terms of my support,” said Edwards.

“I think he’ll sign whatever goes to his desk, which is unfortunate because it hurts the poor people in the state. Louisiana has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation because women don’t have healthcare, including abortion care” said Landry.

Our Fox 8 legal analyst says another pending Supreme Court decision on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks could be more definitive and possibly have more of an impact in states like Louisiana, where more restrictive laws are already passed and waiting to go into effect.

“I think the 800-pound gorilla in the room is still the Mississippi case which was just heard, and the ruling will come out this summer. That might be more definitive as it pertains to all these abortion issues,” said Raspanti.

Louisiana law currently bans abortions after 22 weeks but the governor says that could change depending on upcoming Supreme Court action

“If the Supreme Court changes the law to allow additional restrictions but up to a certain point, I suspect we already have that provision or something close to it, so I’m not sure any additional measures would be necessary to be responsive to it,” said Edwards.

Eight members of the Supreme Court agreed that the clinics’ lawsuits could continue against the Texas abortion law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the court for not putting the Texas abortion law on hold while the lower courts decide the case.

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