State Attempts to Delay Judgement in Abortion Regulations Lawsuit

Today, a judge heard brief arguments in Louisiana's 19th Judicial District Court about whether to put litigation on hold that challenges the Louisiana Department of Health's (the Department) regulations of abortion clinics. In September, lawyers for a Louisiana abortion clinic asked the court to strike down the regulations because the Department pushed these regulations through the process without even considering the substance and merits of the comments - a violation of public administration law. Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the clinic licensing law, which required the Department to write these regulations. That lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims that the law's 1,000 medically unnecessary requirements create unconstitutional obstacles for women seeking abortions.

Today, the Department argued:

A ruling on the issues raised in the Petition for Declaratory Judgment, in this matter, would be premature prior to the federal court’s disposition of the issues regarding the constitutionality of the [Abortion Facilities Licensing Standards] enabling statutes.

The lawyer representing an abortion clinic in this case told the judge that the federal lawsuit could take years to be resolved. Moreover, the issues in the two cases are separate. Whatever the outcome of the federal case, it wouldn't remedy the harm to the public in this case.This case in state court is about the process the Department used in bringing the regulations forward which failed to give citizens the opportunity to meaningfully comment and to receive a response from their goverment. 

A hearing on the Motion for Summary Judgement is scheduled for this Thursday (December 6th). We will update this post with the judge's decision on whether to delay the case as soon as we know.

Lift Louisiana is a sponsor of the lawsuit because we are committed to holding our government accountable and fighting for access to health care. 

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