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La. abortionists fail in attempt to sidestep safety laws

5th Circuit upholds dismissal of challenge to law protecting patient health, safety

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit Friday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by several abortion clinics against a Louisiana law that requires them to meet certain patient health and safety regulations. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden served as co-counsel for the Louisiana Health Department in arguing to uphold a district court decision that threw out the lawsuit.

“A woman’s health and safety should always be the most important concern in cases like this, and that is indeed the highest concern of Louisiana health officials,” said Aden. “The district court was right to reject this challenge to basic health and safety regulations, and the 5th Circuit has done the right thing in upholding that decision.”

In November 2010, abortion clinics represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against Act 490, Louisiana’s Outpatient Abortion Facility Licensing Law enacted earlier that year. They appealed to the 5th Circuit after the district court dismissed the lawsuit on multiple grounds.

The law states that Louisiana’s secretary of health “may deny a license, may refuse to renew a license, or may revoke an existing license, if an investigation or survey determines that the application or license is in violation of any provision” of the regulations governing outpatient abortion facilities “or in violation of any federal or state law or regulation.”

The law also allows the Department of Health to immediately suspend a license if “the violation[s] pose an imminent or immediate threat to the health, welfare, or safety of a client or patient.”

In its ruling upholding dismissal of the lawsuit, Choice v. Greenstein, the 5th Circuit wrote, “We affirm the district court’s decision to dismiss the claims because Plaintiffs have failed to show that hardship will result from withholding court consideration at this time.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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