SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — There are strong reactions to news that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Louisiana abortion restrictions.
The justices will take a look at a state law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility.
Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act has been blocked since it became law in 2014.
Congressman Mike Johnson was a state senator then and later represented Louisiana in defending the law in District Court.
He questions the premise that this law might have been intended to chip away at Roe vs Wade, the high court’s ruling in 1973 legalizing abortion.
“It was a huge bipartisan majority of the (Louisiana) Legislature. There were only, I think, nine dissenting votes in both houses of the legislature," Johnson recalled.
"At the time, back in 2014, it was a bipartisan bill and the purpose was to protect women’s health.”
Kathaleen Pittman, of the Shreveport abortion clinic Hope Medical Group, told KSLA News 12 in a telephone interview that her first reaction to the news about the Supreme Court was one of relief.
That quickly was followed by anger and frustration that the case even got this far, she added.
Lindsay Brown, president of the Shreveport-Bossier chapter of the National Organization for Women, released a statement that, in part, reads: “We’re hopeful that the court will apply the same ruling on this law as they did in Texas, as the laws are exactly the same.”
Brown was referring to a nearly identical case the Supreme Court struck down in 2016.
Johnson questions the logic that the Louisiana law might suffer a similar fate. “Here, there are some geographical and demographic differences between Louisiana and Texas”
“And that’s why the 5th Circuit, the Court of Appeals, upheld the Louisiana law," he continued. "They said it did not pose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.”
If Louisiana’s controversial abortion law survives, the only place for women to seek an abortion in the state might be the abortion clinic in Shreveport.