Louisiana abortion ban goes into effect as legal battle continues

Louisiana can enforce a near-total ban on abortion after a temporary restraining order expires on Friday, paving the way for the state’s tough “trigger law” to come into effect now that the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.

State District Judge Ethel Julien granted the state’s request to transfer the case to a Baton Rouge court, allowing a temporary restraining order that had blocked the ban on the abortion to expire. Another judge will now decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction to block the trigger law again.

“The fight is far from over, and we look forward to arguing the trigger bans in court in Baton Rouge, said Joanna Wright, attorney for the plaintiffs challenging the ban.

Louisiana’s trigger law, enacted in 2006, prohibits abortions except when a pregnant person’s life is in danger; abortion providers risk being charged with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The state has enacted several abortion restrictions in recent years.

“I am personally devastated for the patients in Louisiana who are now panicking trying to figure out how to get care,” said Jenny Ma, a senior attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights representing the plaintiffs. “But to be clear, this case is by no means over.”

Louisiana joins 13 other states in enforcing trigger laws after fall of Roe vs. Wade. Abortion rights advocates and those fighting to ban the procedure are now battling in courts and legislatures across the country.

In addition to Louisiana, states with trigger laws in effect include: Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio. Utah and Kentucky also have trigger bans, but the courts have temporarily blocked them from taking effect immediately. Idaho, Wyoming and North Dakota have trigger bans that will go into effect about a month after the Supreme Court’s decision.

Abortion Providers in Louisiana requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the state’s trigger law from going into effect On June 27, shortly after the Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. They argued that the trigger law was “constitutionally vague.”

The state abortion ban now takes effect the same day President Biden signed an executive order to support access to abortion, though he acknowledged that his executive power is limited.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (right) reacted to news of Biden’s plans on Friday afternoon as the state gained power to enforce its strict abortion laws: “Reports that Biden provides for an executive order on abortion”, Landry tweeted. “If he does, we meet him through legal action and defeat him again in court!”