Louisiana judge temporarily blocks abortion ban after US Supreme Court ruling

Argument suggests "trigger laws" are unconstitutionally vague

Protesters in Shreveport, Louisiana. AP
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A Louisiana judge on Monday temporarily blocked the Republican-led state from enforcing laws banning abortion that were set to take effect after the US Supreme Court's blockbuster decision to end the constitutional right to the procedure nationwide.

Louisiana is one of 13 states with “trigger laws” designed to ban or severely restrict abortions once the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that recognised a right to the procedure was overturned, as it was on Friday.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso issued a temporary restraining order blocking Louisiana from carrying out its ban shortly after Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, one of Louisiana's three abortion clinics, sued.

The clinic had argued Louisiana's three trigger law bans violated its due process rights under the state's constitution and “lack constitutionally required safeguards to prevent arbitrary enforcement”.

The judge scheduled a July 8 hearing to decide whether to further enjoin enforcement of the abortion ban.

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

He hailed the Supreme Court's decision on Friday, and at an event said that those who challenge the state's bans were “in for a rough fight”.

The case is one of several challenging Republican-backed abortion laws under state constitutions after the US Supreme Court's ruling.

A Utah branch of Planned Parenthood on Saturday sued over that state's trigger ban, and abortion rights advocates plan to challenge an Ohio ban on abortions after six weeks that took effect on Friday.

In Louisiana, Hope Medical argued the state's laws make it impossible to tell when they are in effect, if one or all of them collectively are in force, and what exact conduct is prohibited, such as if exceptions exist to save a pregnant woman's life.

That vagueness has resulted in state and local officials issuing conflicting statements about whether the trigger bans are in effect, the lawsuit in Orleans Civil District Court contended.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 9:51 PM