NEW ORLEANS ( Associated Press) — Roe v. Wade’s fall on Monday shifted the battlefield over abortion in courts across the country, as one side sought to quickly implement statewide restrictions and the other sought to halt or at least delay such measures. tried.
US Supreme Court ruling on Friday to end constitutional protection for abortion Opened the door for a wave of litigation from all around.
Many of the court cases will focus on “trigger laws,” which were adopted in 13 states in anticipation of a ruling and designed to take effect rapidly. The lawsuits could also target old anti-abortion laws that were left on the books and not enforced under Roe. New abortion restrictions pending a Supreme Court decision are also beginning to come into play.
“We’ll be back in court tomorrow and the next day and the next day,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Friday.
On Monday in Louisiana, a judge in New Orleans, a liberal city in a conservative state, temporarily blocked the state’s trigger-law ban on abortion, a move that abortion rights activists argued was unclear. The decision is pending for hearing on July 8.
At least one of the state’s three abortion clinics said it would resume the demonstration process on Tuesday.
“We’re going to do what we can,” said Kathleen Pittman, administrator of the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport. “It can all come to a screeching halt.”
Also on Monday, abortion rights advocates asked a Florida judge to block There’s a new law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks with a few exceptions and is set to take effect this week.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and an abortion-rights group filed an emergency motion on Saturday seeking to block the 2021 law, which they worry could be used to stop all abortions. Is. Planned Parenthood in Utah has challenged a trigger law there with narrow exceptions.
Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said the organization is looking at “all options” to protect access to abortion.
As of Saturday, abortion services had closed in at least 11 states — either because of state laws or confusion over them.
In some cases, lawsuits may just take time. Even if courts do hold certain sanctions in place, lawmakers in many conservative states can move quickly to plug any loopholes.
This is likely to happen in Louisiana. In the lawsuit filed in state court, the plaintiffs do not deny that the state can now ban abortions. Instead, he argues that there are multiple, conflicting trigger mechanisms now in law in Louisiana.
They also argue that state law is unclear about whether it prohibits abortion before the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. And while the law provides an exception for “medically nonsensical” pregnancies in cases of fetuses with malignant abnormalities, the plaintiffs noted that the law provides no definition of the term.
Across the country, other trigger laws can be challenged on the grounds that the conditions for imposing sanctions have not been met, or that it was unreasonable for the previous legislature to force the current one.
Other challenges could raise questions about whether state laws sufficiently and clearly allow exceptions to protect the life or health of a pregnant woman, said Laura Herner, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Now that the High Court has ruled that the US Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion, abortion rights advocates will make the case that their state’s constitution protects such a right.
A judge heard arguments on that issue on Monday in Florida, where lawyers sought an emergency injunction to block a new law from taking effect on Friday. There are exceptions to the restriction beyond 15 weeks to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent bodily harm or in cases where there is a fatal abnormality in the fetus. The ACLU of Florida has argued that it violates the Florida Constitution.
In a separate lawsuit filed by a Jewish congregation in Florida, debates over religious freedom and the separation of church and state will come into play.
Still other cases may be filed as states try to figure out whether abortions that were banned before Roe’s decision—sometimes called “zombie laws”—now enforce that abortion There is no federal protection for
For example, Wisconsin passed a law in 1849 that banned abortion in addition to saving the mother’s life. Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul said he does not believe it is enforceable. Abortion opponents have called on lawmakers to impose a new ban.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said it immediately suspended all abortions, though district attorneys in Madison and Milwaukee have suggested they will not enforce the ban.
In Michigan, Planned Parenthood challenged a 1931 abortion ban prior to last week’s Supreme Court ruling. In May, a judge said the ban could not be enforced because it violates the state’s constitution. Abortion rights advocates are now trying to get a state constitutional amendment proposed on the ballot in November to protect abortion and birth control.
Idaho, Oklahoma and Texas have adopted laws that allow people to take bounties against those who help others get abortions. It is an open question whether this means people can be followed across state lines, and legal challenges to those issues are likely to come in cases of both surgical abortion and those using mailed medicine to patients. .
The Democrat-controlled California Legislature passed a bill Thursday to protect abortion providers and volunteers in the state from civil judgments imposed by other states. In liberal Massachusetts, Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order Friday that bars state agencies from assisting other states with investigations into anyone who receives legal abortion in Massachusetts.
The challenge, filed in Arizona, where most providers stopped offering abortions, said the legal questions were urgent.
Even if abortions do resume in weeks or months, the plaintiffs said, “patients may be at higher risk of medical complications or may lose access to abortion altogether as a result of the delay.”
Forlity reported from Minneapolis and Mulvihill from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Kate Brumback in Atlanta; Steve LeBlanc in Boston and Don Thompson in Sacramento, California contributed to this report.
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