Legal Wrap: A Big Win in Louisiana Comes as More States Advance Abortion Restrictions


Legal Wrap is a weekly round-up of key legal reproductive rights and justice news.

It’s rare we get to open the legal round-up with a big win. But the fact that Louisiana health officials decided to rescind proposed new rules for outpatient abortion facilities designed to close all the clinics in the state just hours before public hearings on those rules and in direct response to public outcry over the proposed restrictions is most certainly a big win. Andrea Grimes has the details on the decision and the public’s campaign to keep legal abortion accessible in the state here.

A federal court in Alabama is considering whether to permanently block the state’s admitting privileges law from going into effect.

In Alaska, a state court judge temporarily blocked new regulations designed to severely restrict access to abortion care for Medicaid recipients until a trial on the constitutionality of the rules can take place.

Meanwhile, a judge in Montana ruled that the state’s attorney general cannot defend two recent parental involvement laws because courts in the state have previously ruled similar restrictions unconstitutional.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pushing forward with her Military Justice Improvement Act despite threats from her Democratic colleague Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to filibuster the bill.

South Dakota lawmakers introduced a dangerous new abortion restriction that targets second-trimester abortions and could outlaw surgical abortions entirely.

In Ohio, the state’s health director has resigned, following his crusade to close an abortion clinic in the state—an indication that abortion access is a key issue leading up to the November elections.

Colorado lawmakers have introduced legislation that defines life as beginning at conception, despite the fact that Colorado voters overwhelmingly oppose fetal “personhood” rights, twice defeating similar measures via ballot initiatives in 2008 and 2010.

Anti-abortion bills advanced in Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky. Among the proposed restrictions are a 72-hour waiting period in Missouri and a mandatory ultrasound bill in Kentucky that would require a patient seeking an abortion to hear a description of the fetus over her objections.

An anti-gay politician in Virginia gets recall efforts against him delayed, because county judges recused themselves from the case. It’s good to have friends in high places.

The religious legal advocacy organization Liberty Counsel has asked the Roberts Court to overturn a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding California’s ban on so-called gay conversion therapy, arguing the ban violates parental free-speech rights.

Good news! It’s now harder to discriminate against pregnant workers in Philadelphia.

And, more good news. Lawmakers in Washington have advanced the Reproductive Parity Act. If signed into law, it would make the state the first in the nation to mandate that insurers who cover maternity care also cover abortion. If only we could get Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment and pass those kinds of protections nationwide, reproductive health-care parity could be a reality for all Americans.

CORRECTION: A version of this article incorrectly noted that anti-abortion bills advanced in Virginia last week. In fact, the bills that were voted on in Virginia would repeal two anti-choice laws, including a mandatory ultrasound law and a law that prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion. We regret this error.

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