Advocates Seek to Block Louisiana TRAP Law in Federal Suit
Friday, the Center for Reproductive Rights joined a federal lawsuit challenging a Louisiana TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law set to take effect September 1.
The suit, filed on behalf of health care workers in Baton Rouge, seeks an injunction against Louisiana HB 388, which requires abortion providers in the state to obtain local hospital admitting privileges. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed HB 388 into law in June. In the written complaint, the Center for Reproductive Rights argued that the law makes an impossible demand since hospitals will not be able to respond to providers about admitting privileges before the law takes effect.
"Although all of Clinic Plaintiff's physicians who do not have admitting privileges have applied for such privileges at a local hospital, there is not enough time for the hospitals to consider and decide the submitted applications before the Act takes effect," the complaint reads. "The process of applying for privileges and receiving a decision from a hospital on such an application can and generally does take months."
HB 388 will effectively close any clinics located in rural areas or other neighborhoods without a hospital located within 30 mile, and also instated a 24-hour waiting period on surgical abortions. The law was modeled after a similar law in Texas which has decimated clinic access across the state.
Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, reiterated widely shared frustration about the function of the law in a statement released Friday. "Leading national medical associations oppose admitting privileges requirements and federal courts nationwide have blocked them, recognizing them as the underhanded attempts to ban abortion that they really are," Northrup said. "Louisiana is the latest state to advance the unconstitutional objective of denying women safe, legal abortion care under the phony pretext of protecting their health."
Attorneys for Hope Medical Group for Women, Causeway Medical Clinic, and Bossier City Medical Suite are named as plaintiffs in the suit. If the law goes forward, the Center for Reproductive Rights said three of the five clinics in the state would be forced to stop providing abortion services or close altogether.
Media Resources: Times Picayune Newspaper 6/12/14; US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana 8/22/14/; Center for Reproductive Rights 8/22/14; RH Reality Check 8/22/14; Feminist Newswire 5/22/14, 11/1/13