Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order which will protect, for now, access to safe, legal abortion for women in Louisiana. On February 24, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had granted a stay that allowed the clinic shutdown law to take effect and immediately forced two of four health centers that provide safe, legal abortion to stop providing abortions--and would have closed all but one had the law remained in effect. Overnight, the ruling plunged Louisiana’s four abortion clinics into “chaos,” as reported by the Guardian and New York Times.
This comes after thousands rallied before the Supreme Court on Wednesday as it heard oral arguments in the most significant abortion case in decades, challenging a similar Texas law that devastated access to safe, legal abortion. Similar laws threaten to decimate access to safe, legal abortion across the country, including in Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. (View an animated GIF from Planned Parenthood showing how restrictive laws have slashed the number of health centers in the South.)
The plaintiffs in the case are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Today’s order means that the Louisiana law will stay blocked while the state appeals a decision of a federal district court in Louisiana which ruled that the law was likely unconstitutional.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
“We are grateful the Supreme Court has stepped in to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion in Louisiana, for now. Last week we saw women in Louisiana thrown into a waking nightmare, with appointments cancelled overnight and health centers flooded with calls. This cannot be the future our daughters inherit, which is why thousands turned out to protest on the Supreme Court steps this week. We cannot become a country where a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion depends on where she lives.”
Melaney Linton, CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast:
“Women across Louisiana can breathe a sigh of relief, for now. We have seen the devastation these laws have caused for women in Texas, who are waiting up to 20 days for an appointment or forced to travel out of state to access safe, legal abortion. We began to see this same tragedy play out in Louisiana before the Court stepped in. Women will not stand for these attacks and Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for women’s access to health care.”
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 04, 2016