SCOTUS Says Louisiana Can’t Limit Abortion Providers Based on Hospital Privileges, Preserves Women’s Rights

The Supreme Court has struck down a Louisiana abortion law that opponents say would have closed all but one abortion clinic in the state and had lasting repercussions for reproductive rights across the country.

The Louisiana law, known as Act 620, would have required abortion providers to have the ability to admit patients at local hospitals. Supporters said the legislation promoted safety and continuity of care; abortion-rights advocates say it was a medically unnecessary restriction would force abortion clinics to shutter because many abortion providers have been denied such privileges.

In a 5-4 decision issued Monday, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the Louisiana law “offers no significant health benefit” and would “drastically reduce the number and geographic distribution of abortion providers, making it impossible for many women to obtain a safe, legal abortion in the State and imposing substantial obstacles on those who could.”

The decision in June Medical Services v. Russo will have effects far beyond Louisiana. Abortion advocates feared that upholding the law would open the door for other states to pass similar laws and further restrict abortion access without fear of court intervention—effectively gutting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal across the country.

Abortion-rights advocates celebrated Monday’s ruling as a win, but cautioned that it would not stop states from passing more restrictive laws in the future.

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