Hope Clinic attorneys explain potential outcomes, consequences of SCOTUS ruling

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SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Wednesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, who represent Hope Medical Group in a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging Louisiana’s Admitting Privileges Law, explained some of the possible outcomes when the Supreme Court returns their ruling.

The law states any doctor performing an abortion must have admitting rights to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic in which the abortion is performed.

Oral arguments in the case of June Medical Group vs. Russo were presented before the Supreme Court justices on March 4th.

“In this challenge to the admitting privileges requirements in Louisiana, the issue in this case – the center of this case – was one we already won four years ago in the Supreme Court case, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

According to Northup, there are four different scenarios that could unfold when SCOTUS makes its ruling.

The first is the court could strike down the law and that would be that.

“We consider this a complete win. A double win would be another way of thinking about it because it would be a win for both access to abortion and it will be a win for the legal right to abortion, making access to people who need it. It will also make clear that the legal right to abortion remains strong,” said Julie Rikelman, Senior Litigation, Director, and Co-Lead Counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

This outcome would leave current access to abortion preserved.

The second possible outcome would be that the court strikes down the admitting law, but changes the legal standard.

“One where access is preserved in Louisiana and so, the court still strikes down the Louisiana law, recognizing that it really can’t make any decision between the Louisiana law and the Texas law from four years ago, so the law is unconstitutional,” Rikelman said.

The third possible outcome is that the court upholds the admitting privileges law.

“And, the consequence of that would be devastating for access in Louisiana. There are only three clinics left in the state and the trial court in our case found that the effect of the law would be to shutter all of them, but one,” said T.J. Tu, Senior Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel for the Center of Reproductive Rights.

The fourth potential outcome is the court siding with the state.

“Rather rule on the issue of third-party standing in the question of whether our plaintiffs even belong in court and can raise the rights of their patients,” Tu said.

But, there is a possibility the law could be blocked, leaving the door open for one more outcome.

“If the law is blocked, that means that the current level of access in the state will continue. So, the three clinics that are providing care right now will be able to continue offering their services,” Rikelman said.

Louisiana’s Admitting Privileges Law was passed by the legislature in 2014. The Supreme Court decision will end six-years of legal wrangling.

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