After almost 50 years of Americans having a constitutional right to an abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade decision Friday, allowing states to craft their own abortion laws.
Louisiana is one of 13 states with so-called trigger laws that go into effect now that the 1973 ruling has been tossed aside. Justices ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe and 6-3 to uphold Mississippi’s abortion law, which was being challenged in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization, the case decided Friday.
In Louisiana, abortion is now illegal in almost in all cases. Pregnant people in Louisiana will now only be able to get an abortion if the life of the mother is at risk or if two physicians certify that life outside the womb is futile.
Those who provide illegal abortions – including medication that induces abortion – could face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Louisiana residents seeking an abortion will now likely have to travel as far as Illinois or New Mexico to seek an abortion, as many surrounding states also have abortion bans and restrictions. That travel distance will have the largest effect on poor pregnant people, who according to health statistics are more likely to seek an abortion.
The state’s three abortion clinics are expected to “pause” operations and consider their next move.
“When the Supreme Court rules, we will look at our options then,” Kathaleen Pittman, who manages the Hope Medical Group in Shreveport said last week. “We are certainly not going to violate the law. I mean we are not going to do that, but if there is redress, we are going to look at our options.”
The Louisiana Department of Health is tasked with enforcing the closure of the abortion clinics if a ban goes into effect.
The Dobbs decision comes after over a month of increased tension following a leaked draft of the opinion, which indicated that the court was likely to overrule abortion rights. In the weeks since the leak, Louisiana’s abortion clinics have continued to see as many patients as they can.
While pro-abortion advocates dreaded this day, the anti-abortion movement is celebrating. Today’s Supreme Court decision marks the culmination of nearly 50 years of organizing to achieve this exact goal.
“This is the beginning of a post-Roe era and post-Roe Louisiana. I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire adult life,” said Gene Mills, president of Louisiana Family Forum.
Attorney General Jeff Landry, also issued a statement celebrating the decision.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. Today, along with millions across Louisiana and America, I rejoice with my departed Mom and the unborn children with her in Heaven!” Landry said.
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