Judges Block New Abortion Laws After End of Roe

State court litigation over new abortion regulations started immediately after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last Friday. On Monday, judges in Louisiana and Utah issued orders blocking the enforcement of local abortion laws.

At least 13 U.S. states have “trigger laws” that are going into effect after last week’s high court decision sends the issue of abortion regulation or prohibition back to individual state legislatures. The trigger laws were passed previously and set to become effective in the event that Roe v. Wade was reversed.

In Louisiana, Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso heard the emergency application for a stay of the state abortion law filed by Hope Medical Group for Women and Medical Students for Choice.

Center for Reproductive Rights senior attorney Jenny Ma said that the court “made the right call today to swiftly block this unjust ban from taking effect.” Her group represents the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit. Ma said the restraining order is “incredibly welcome news during a very dark time in our history.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said that his office will continue to fight in court in support of the new state abortion ban, which was “enacted by the people of Louisiana.”

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday that he remains “unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion.” However, he said that he plans to propose amendments to the state’s trigger law passed in 2006. He wants to include exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape and incest.

In Utah, Third District Court Judge Andrew Stone issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against the state’s abortion trigger law in a lawsuit filed by the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

Stone’s order said that Planned Parenthood made a showing of “irreparable harm.” It also said that women covered by the new law are “deprived of safe, local medical treatments to terminate pregnancies.” There was no apparent reference to the “irreparable harm” that is done to an unborn child when it is killed.

Even though the Utah law was already in place and citizens have known for at least several weeks that the end of Roe was imminent, Planned Parenthood lawyer Julie Murray argued to the court that ending abortion access “with such short notice had reverberating impacts.” The organization claimed that it had 55 abortions scheduled for this week in its Utah facilities.

Murray told reporters that she was working on a further request that would extend the 14-day order indefinitely while the case is being heard.

Lawsuits challenging state trigger laws are also underway in Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.