Courts Block Trigger Bans in Utah and Louisiana, Making Abortions Temporarily Legal Again

Abortion providers in these two states, Texas and elsewhere are fighting to get pregnant people immediate relief from the Supreme Court decision.

Courts Block Trigger Bans in Utah and Louisiana, Making Abortions Temporarily Legal Again
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The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that states can ban abortion if they want to, and many already have, via so-called “trigger bans” that had been in place in the event that Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. But abortion providers immediately fought back with lawsuits challenging those bans, and in at least two cases, they’ve been temporarily successful.

Abortion care will resume in Louisiana and Utah on Tuesday after state courts blocked their respective abortion bans. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in Louisiana on behalf of a Shreveport abortion clinic, and a judge ruled in their favor on Monday. In a statement, CRR explained that they challenged the law on the basis that it’s “unconstitutionally vague:

“Plaintiffs challenge the unconstitutionally vague trigger laws which make it impossible to tell: (1) whether any of the trigger laws are in effect; (2) if so, which one; and (3) what conduct would be prohibited, including what exceptions exist for doctors performing procedures to save a pregnant person’s life. In a stunning state of affairs, the day Dobbs was issued, state and local officials issued conflicting statements about whether and which trigger laws were actually in effect and thus what conduct—if any—was prohibited. Due process requires more.”

A full hearing on that law is scheduled for July 8.

Hours later, District Court Judge Andrew Stone made a similar ruling in Utah, granting Planned Parenthood of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah an emergency injunction. The 14-day temporary restraining order goes into effect immediately.

“There is irreparable harm that has been shown,” Stone said in announcing his decision. “Affected women are deprived of safe, local medical treatments to terminate pregnancies.”

Planned Parenthood of Utah noted in its arguments that it had more than 55 patients scheduled for abortions this week, and their appointments had been canceled on very short notice after five years of legal abortion, which was unfair to women and pregnant-capable people.

Texas abortion providers have filed a similar lawsuit, and the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

These temporary restraining orders are unlikely to hold for the long term, as state officials in all of these states are vowing to fight to put the trigger bans back into effect. “It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to utilize confusion, misinformation, and deceit as scare tactics in the face of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) said in a statement on Monday.

Regardless of outcome, a few weeks of continued abortion access is undoubtedly a win for the pregnant people who suddenly found themselves with a canceled medical appointment and no options.

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