BOSSIER CITY, LA — Today, a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay of a federal district court opinion that had declared unconstitutional Louisiana’s statutory requirement that each physician who performs outpatient abortions must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The law, named The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act of 2014, was challenged in federal court by state abortion providers before its effective date. The case, June Medical Services, LLC and Bossier City Medical Suite, et al., v. Gee, was litigated in a six-day bench trial last summer. Seven months later, Judge John W. deGravelles ruled in favor of the abortion providers, concluding that the law was unconstitutional on its face and must be enjoined. The state then sought a stay of the ruling pending a full appeal.
“We are delighted by the Fifth Circuit’s decision today,” said La. State Representative Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City), a constitutional law attorney who served as co-counsel in the case defending the state’s law. “The three judge panel has stated clearly that the plaintiffs’ claims have no merit and this is a reasonable, common sense restriction to protect women’s health. The ruling today will help save lives.”
In its 15 page opinion, the appeals court called it “puzzling” that the plaintiffs challenging the state law ignored the Fifth Circuit’s prior precedent upholding similar admitting-privileges requirements.
The full appeal is expected to be heard by the appeals court in the coming months.
The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act of 2014 (or, Act 620) requires that abortion providers be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital in the event of complications. The law passed 88-5 in the Louisiana House of Representatives and 34-3 in the Louisiana Senate.
Johnson, who is also a candidate for Congress in Louisiana’s 4th District has posted a copy of today’s ruling at his website: www.MikeJohnsonforLouisiana.com.