By Lyndsey Kelly Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON, D.C., United States Of America - A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of a restrictive new abortion law in Louisiana. The law signed by Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, requires doctors who perform abortion procedures to have admitting privileges to a hospital within a 30-mile radius of their clinics.
Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, signed into law a measure which would pre quire all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (Photo courtesy of Reuters).
Lawyers and advocates in the region have disagreed as to whether or not the judge’s order affects the physicians at all five of the abortion clinics in the state of Louisiana, or only the three clinics whose lawsuit challenges the measure. A lawsuit by the Center for Reproductive Rights claims that doctors have not been given enough time to secure privileges at local hospitals, and thus all five abortion clinics in the state would likely be forced to close.
Judge John w. deGravelles of the Middle District of Louisiana said that the law will take effect on Monday, 1 September 2014. However, doctors should not be penalized for breaking the law while the challenge to the law is heard. Additionally, deGravelles wrote that the Board of Medical Examiners made no promises regarding the prosecution of doctors who violated the law starting Monday. Doctors who violate the ruling risk fines of up to $4,000 and the loss of their license to practice. A status conference will be called within 30 days from the enactment of the law to check on the progress of the plaintiffs’ applications.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the many groups representing two Louisiana clinics and the doctors practicing there, stated, “Today’s ruling ensures Louisiana women are safe from an underhanded law that seeks to strip them of their health and rights.”
Laws regarding abortion clinics have become a hot topic in the recent months. Louisiana is among 11 states that have passed similar laws. Additionally, courts have recently ruled measures put in place in Alabama and Mississippi to be unconstitutional.