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06-2022

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court feuds

NEW ORLEANS ( Associated Press) — Roe v. Wade’s fall shifted the battlefield on abortion in courts across the country on Monday, as one side quickly sought to impose a statewide ban and the other sought to block or at least delay such measures. Of.

Friday’s decision by the US Supreme Court to end constitutional protection for abortion opened the door to a wave of litigation from all sides.

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. Lawsuits can also target older anti-abortion laws that were left on the book 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 enforcement of a statewide abortion ban that was designed to take effect automatically when Roe fell, Abortion rights activists argued that the law is unclear.

The decision is pending for hearing on July 8. The Republican attorney general of Louisiana would argue in favor of enforcement.

Also on Monday, abortion rights advocates asked a Florida judge there to block a new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks with some 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 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 or sanctions, lawmakers in many conservative states can move quickly to plug any loopholes.

This is likely to happen in Louisiana. The state’s attorney general said on Twitter Friday that the sanctions were in effect immediately, along with “triggered” provisions passed in anticipation of the ruling. Only three abortion clinics in the state were closed that day.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Monday in state court in New Orleans — which includes one of those clinics — do not deny that Louisiana 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 void” 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 state constitutions protect 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 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.


For Associated Press’s full coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, visit https://apnews.com/hub/abortion.

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