The right to an abortion lives on, at least temporarily, in at least one state with a so-called trigger law that was intended to fully ban the procedure immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last Friday.
A judge in Louisiana granted a temporary order barring that state’s trigger law taking effect on Monday. The ruling didn’t say how long the order would delay the law from going into effect or expound on the Judge Judge Robin M. Giarrusso’s reasoning, according to the Washington Post. She scheduled a hearing for July 8 in a New Orleans court.
Louisiana only has three functional abortion clinics, all of which joined in asking the court for an emergency restraining order preventing the trigger laws from taking effect. Lawyers for the clinics had argued that the trigger law was vague, leaving little detail as to what activities were allowed and which were banned under the law.
It could be a key question that gets answered in local courts around the country as more state legislatures seek to enact laws that not only ban abortion but also seek to restrict activities not directly tied to the procedure. Can states, for example, ban doctors, clinics or even family and friends from helping women travel from states with abortion bans to states where the procedure is legal? Is a phone call to an abortion clinic in a state where it’s legal run afoul of the law in a state where it’s not? Could removing a stillborn fetus in order to save a pregnant woman’s life result in criminal charges?
Abortion care providers in states with trigger laws, like Louisiana, have said they are uncertain whether they could faced immediate consequences for providing care to those seeking an abortion. Some prosecutors have suggested they would not file charges under trigger laws, including Jason Williams, the New Orleans district attorney, who said on Friday that his office would not prosecutor patients or physicians.
Last Friday’s ruling, brings up a host of other issues as states friendly to abortion navigate if its possible to protect women who travel from other jurisdictions, and companies re-evaluate their healthcare policies and in some instances, even their headquarters.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this month signed a bill that would allow residents of her state to sue individuals in states with abortion bans if they try to take legal action to prevent an abortion in New York. Over the weekend, retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods joined Starbucks, Tesla, AirBnb and others in offering cover the cost of out-of-state travel for employees in states with abortion bans already in place.