Louisiana judge blocks law blocking abortions

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A new law virtually eliminating abortions throughout the state would have taken effect this Labor Day.

The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requires doctors who perform abortions to have patient admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Now that law is on hold for many. A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order giving doctors named in the litigation the right to continue to perform abortions as long as they have pending admitting privileges.

This means abortions can continue at the Causeway Medical Clinic in Metairie.

“The immediate result of this decision is that it will save women of Louisiana from having to put themselves in serious danger,” says Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU Louisiana.

“In the day in age when abortion is legal in our country we need to make sure that even abortion facilities have the highest standard of care,” says Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.

Pro-choice advocate Marjorie Esman says if women can't get a safe abortion they will find unsafe ways. Pro-life advocate Benjamin Clapper says the life of an unborn child should be protected at all costs, but with abortions being legal mothers should be protected as well.

“Complications from abortions exist. The statistics show that it exists and in the cases when it does exist there needs to be protections in place to make sure that women get the highest level of care,” says Clapper.

“The most important thing to know about this law is that there was no medical basis for it whatever. It was purely a political agenda designed to make it virtually impossible for Louisiana women to obtain a safe and legal medical procedure,” says Esman.

According to the ruling within 30 days the parties must discuss a more permanent solution.

No word on how the Women’s Health Care Center in New Orleans is affected. They are not named in the lawsuit, which means unless they have a doctor with admitting privileges they must stop offering abortions.

For now doctors who have pending admitting privileges can continue performing abortions, but only those named in the lawsuit. This means the abortion facilities in Shreveport, Bossier City and Metairie will remain open.  The Baton Rouge and New Orleans abortion facilities are not named in the lawsuit so they must stop performing abortions unless a doctor there has admitting privileges nearby.

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