Judge allows Louisiana’s abortion ban to take effect

The lawsuit challenging the abortion laws was also transferred out of New Orleans
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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Orleans Civil District Court.
Orleans Civil District Court.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans judge refused to extend a temporary restraining order that blocked Louisiana’s strict abortion ban from taking effect and transferred the case out of the city.

Pro-choice protesters chanted outside the courthouse before the highly-anticipated court hearing began.

“What do we want? Abortion rights. When do we want it? Now,” said said.

They knew the stakes were high.

Dominique Thompson was among the protesters.

“We are going to do everything it takes to get our rights back. We’ve said it all before, abortion is medically necessary, it saves existing lives,” said Thompson.

Inside the courthouse, the hearing focused on Louisiana’s three trigger laws that ban most abortions. They went into effect immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights in late June.

But an abortion clinic and medical students filed suit in New Orleans. They called the state’s anti-abortion laws vague and pointed to provisions in the laws that provide for lengthy prison terms for violators and they won a TRO from another judge.

During the subsequent court hearing, lawyers representing La. Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Health said a New Orleans court was not the proper venue for the case and argued that it should be moved to Baton Rouge, the seat of government for Louisiana.

And after hearing from the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the state’s lawyers Judge Ethel Julien agreed to move the case.

She said in issuing her ruling, “The venue provisions and the case law… require that the action be brought in East Baton Rouge Parish…The court is going to grant the exception of improper venue…the court is going to transfer the case to East Baton Rouge Parish.”

And Julien did not extend the TRO as attorneys for the plaintiffs requested.

After the hearing, a jubilant Landry spoke to the media.

“This action will be brought into Baton Rouge, we certainly intend to continue to defend the laws of the state and to enforce those laws and so the TRO which was granted is now dissolved,” he said.

He issued a warning to abortion providers.

“I would say that abortion clinics that are operating in the state of Louisiana as of today are operating illegally based upon the laws and the constitution of Louisiana and they do so if they continue to operate, they do so under their own risk, both the doctors and the clinics as well,” said Landry.

Pro-life groups were also on hand at the courthouse.

“We expect more legal battles in Baton Rouge but we trust that in time our laws will stand,” said Sarah Zagorski of Louisiana Right to Life.

While the hearing was underway President Joe Biden signed an executive order to help protect abortion rights.

FOX 8 asked Landry if that would have any impact in Louisiana.

“Look, President Biden takes a lot of unconstitutional executive actions; in the attorney general’s office our solicitor general’s office takes a lot of actions against the president so we will be watching and waiting and taking the appropriate action at that time,” said Landry.

And has a strong message for people who take issue with Louisiana’s strict abortion laws.

“If you don’t like Louisiana’s laws or Louisiana’s constitution you can go to another state,” said Landry.

Still, pro-choice advocates say they won’t stop fighting.

“God no, why would I, why would we?” a protester said.

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