NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge this week cut one Louisiana abortion law from a suit filed by an abortion clinic and its doctors, and narrowed challenges to four other laws.
The law no longer in the suit restricts donation of fetal tissue, said attorney Zoe Levine of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which had sued against all seven laws passed last year in the state.
“Our challenges to the other six statutes are in large part moving forward,” she said Thursday in a telephone interview from New York.
They include laws to bar any organization that performs abortions from getting state money,to triple the waiting period for abortions from 24 to 72 hours, to make doctors give all women seeking abortions information about genetic abnormalities, and to require doctors performing abortions to be board certified in family medicine or obstetrics and gynecology.
The state has agreed not to enforce the laws while they are in court.
The Wednesday ruling by Chief Judge Brian Jackson of the federal district court in Baton Rouge also will let the center argue its claims that the laws together have a greater effect than any one law does, so he should consider their cumulative effects on women’s right to abortion.
“Our office is gratified to see that some claims have been dismissed; however, we continue to believe all claims should have been dismissed,” Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement emailed by spokeswoman Ruth Wisher. “We are evaluating the ruling; and regardless of how we move forward, we will continue to defend the Legislature’s reasonable regulations that honor Louisiana’s respect for the unborn and their mothers’ health.”
The law that bars state money to groups which perform abortion also makes it illegal for vendors or contractors dealing with such groups to get state money. Jackson said the clinic has no grounds to challenge that section of the law because none of its vendors has threatened to cancel a contract.
The law requiring doctors to give information about genetic abnormalities to any woman seeking abortion also bars abortions after 20 weeks if the woman wants the procedure because of a known or potential genetic abnormality. Reversing that section wouldn’t change anything because another state law makes all abortions illegal after 20 weeks, Jackson wrote.
Current state law allows doctors to perform abortions if they are taking or have completed a residency in either family medicine or obstetrics and gynecology. Both the clinic and its doctors had challenged the new law. Jackson said the doctors have no legal claim because they already are board certified in one of those fields, but the clinic can argue that the new law would make it much harder for one doctor who plans to retire.