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Supreme Court on 5-to-4 vote blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law

WashingtonPost.com | By Robert Barnes - February 7

The justices may yet consider whether the 2014 law — requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals — unduly burdens women’s access to abortion. The Louisiana law has never been enforced, and the Supreme Court in 2016 found a nearly identical Texas law to be unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented the law’s challengers.

“The three clinics left in Louisiana can stay open while we ask the Supreme Court to hear our case. This should be an easy case — all that’s needed is a straightforward application of the court’s own precedent.”

The court’s four most conservative members would have allowed the law to take effect. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said there was a dispute about whether the doctors could obtain admitting privileges, and that a 45-day grace period would have given time to settle that question.

“The parties have offered, in essence, competing predictions” about whether several doctors can obtain privileges, Kavanaugh wrote.

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