Supreme Court Disappoints Pro-Lifers, Halts Louisiana Abortion Law
The Supreme Court Thursday blocked a Louisiana pro-life law from going into effect, disappointing pro-lifers and putting a damper on hopes that a new conservative block will quickly lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
That still might happen, but Thursday’s action lowered the optimism of pro-life leaders. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal bloc in a 5-4 decision that halted the law, which would have required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic.
Pro-lifers said the goal of the law was to make abortion safer for women who experience complications. Pro-choicers said the law would have forced abortion clinics to close. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the law.
Contrary to his vote on this case, Roberts has a history of affirming pro-life thought. In 2006, he voted to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. Last year, he sided with crisis pregnancy centers in a free speech case.
The Supreme Court in 2016 struck down a Texas law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges. The vote was 5-4, and Roberts voted with the conservative bloc in the minority.
Ed Whelan, a legal expert and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote at National Review’s website that it is wrong to view Thursday’s ruling with “grand significance.”
“I don’t think that the Chief’s vote signals anything about how he will rule on the merits of the case,” Whelan wrote. “I
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