State Senator Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat in Louisiana, helped draft the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act when she was a representative. The bill reportedly received “overwhelming” bipartisan support. The lawmaker wanted to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions.
The law required abortionists to obtain admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. With admitting privileges to an area hospital, abortionists can treat women should complications arise. Former Governor Bobby Jindal signed the bill into law, but a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against it.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act by a 5-4 vote. Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with liberal justices, wrote the majority opinion. From Bloomberg (emphasis added):
Chief Justice John Roberts provided the crucial vote, joining the court’s liberal justices in the 5-4 majority on Monday. Writing separately from the other four in the majority, he said was bound by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar Texas law, even though he was in dissent in that case.
“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons,” Roberts wrote. “Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”
[Justices] Gorsuch and Kavanaugh dissented along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
“There is ample evidence in the record showing that admitting privileges help to protect the health of women by ensuring that physicians who perform abortions meet a higher standard of competence than is shown by the mere possession of a license to practice,” Alito wrote.
Chief Justice Roberts held the opposite opinion in the 2016 Texas pro-life case he cited as precedent in this case. Abortionists were required to have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 miles. The court ruled 5-3 that the state can’t place restrictions on abortion services that create an undue burden on women. The Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.
Senator Jackson expressed her disappointment in the high court’s decision: