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Louisiana judge temporarily blocks implementation of abortion ban

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A judge in Louisiana blocked enforcement of new laws banning abortion Monday in one of the first of many expected challenges to a ban after the Supreme Court’s decision to end federal right to proceed.

The New Orleans district court judge has issued an injunction preventing the implementation of three separate laws severely restricting abortions, which would come into effect after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.

The move was in response to a lawsuit by one of the state’s three abortion providers, Hope Medical Group for Women, and the pro-abortion rights group Medical Students for Choice.

The lawsuit challenged laws passed with the expectation that the Supreme Court would overturn the nearly five-decade-old Roe v. Wade ruling, which stated that the U.S. Constitution protected a woman’s right to abortion.

The plaintiffs argued that the three “trigger bans” were vague because they didn’t say specifically what behavior is prohibited, and when.

“There is no process to establish that any of the trigger bans have in fact come into effect,” the suit said.

It quoted state and local officials as making conflicting statements Friday about which of the three laws was in effect and how they would be enforced, if at all.

“There is tremendous urgency surrounding this petition and emergency movement,” they said.

Nevertheless, the trigger laws had temporarily forced the three abortion providers in the state to stop working.

The Supreme Court decision “has accelerated a tidal wave of canceled appointments and the withdrawal of critical services in states with trigger laws across the country, perhaps no more than in Louisiana, where the trigger laws are effective immediately,” the lawsuit said.

The judge imposed a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the three laws, ahead of a July 8 hearing in which the groups behind the lawsuit hope for a permanent ban.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which supported the lawsuit, said abortion services would continue in Louisiana in the meantime.

The lawsuit was one of several challenging full or partial abortion bans imposed by the Supreme Court decision in states such as Florida, Ohio, Texas, Idaho, Mississippi and Utah.

In Utah, Planned Parenthood said a court had granted a temporary restraining order to block a 2020 abortion ban that took effect after the Supreme Court ruling last week.

“We are grateful for this temporary restraining order that will allow abortion services to resume in Utah,” said Karrie Galloway, the group’s president in the western state.

“Today is a victory, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult battle,” she said in a statement.

Such bans are expected to be enacted in some 26 of the 50 states, and will force women in states seeking abortions to travel sometimes hundreds of miles to a state where the procedure is still legal.

(AFP)

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