On 7 February, the US Supreme Court blocked a Louisiana law from taking effect. Opponents said it was supposed to “restrict access to abortion“. The decision was taken by a “narrow majority“, with Chief Justice John Roberts voting for the stay.
Adopted in 2014, the law that was to come into effect on 8 February required doctors to have a “permit to practice in a hospital less than 50 kilometres from the location of the procedure“. The aim was to avoid the risk of complications and “facilitate the transfer of patients to neighbouring hospitals in case of problems“. A court of appeals had authorised the law to stand.
For opponents of the law, “only one doctor and one clinic” could have “continued to perform abortions for the entire state“, a number deemed “insufficient” in view of the 10,000 abortions performed each year.
The Supreme Court was asked for a stay of the law as a matter of urgency, pending a decision to hear the appeal. Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a similar law passed in Texas, with Justice Roberts voting with the conservative justices to uphold the Texan law.
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