Louisiana abortion clinic to resume operations after Baton Rouge judge blocks trigger law

Abortion advocates with Lift Louisiana and others applauded the order
A transgender man holds a banner as pro-abortion rights protesters gather on May 7, 2022, in New York City.

A Louisiana abortion clinic plans to resume abortions on Thursday after a state judge who took over a legal challenge to the state’s abortion ban granted a new temporary restraining order blocking the law.

East Baton Rouge District Judge Don Johnson on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order blocking Louisiana’s near total ban on abortion as a lawsuit challenging the law proceeds.

The decision follows an order from a New Orleans judge who agreed with Attorney General Jeff Landry that the proper venue for the case was in the capitol, a move that dissolved a previous restraining order.

The case centers on a legal challenge from Hope Medical Group, a Shreveport abortion clinic, and abortion advocates who claim a 2006 trigger law and another passed in the 2022 legislative session are unconstitutionally vague, both in terms of exceptions and when they take effect.

The laws are designed to outlaw abortion in Louisiana following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which became a reality late last month.

Kathleen Pittman, administrator at the Shreveport clinic, told The Advocate staff are now working to reschedule canceled appointments to resume abortions on Thursday.

Joanna Wright, attorney with the New York-based Boies Shiller Flexner representing the plaintiffs, told the news site she’ll push for a more permanent injunction at the next hearing in the case on Monday.

"Two separate Louisiana judges have now rightly found that irreparable harm will occur if the trigger bans are enforced," Wright said. "We look forward to arguing for a preliminary injunction before Judge Johnson next Monday and, in the meantime, we take solace in the fact that crucial healthcare for women has been restored in the state of Louisiana."

Landry reacted to Johnson’s decision Tuesday in a series of posts on Twitter.

"To have the judiciary create a legal circus is disappointing and what discredits the institutions we rely upon for a stable society," Landry wrote. "The rule of law must be followed, and I will not rest until it is. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little bit longer for that to happen."

"Any society that places themselves before their children (the future) does not last," Landry posted.

Abortion advocates with Lift Louisiana and others applauded Johnson’s order.

"Today is a good day in Louisiana. By this judge issuing a temporary restraining order on Louisiana’s trigger ban, he has restored the right to privacy and bodily autonomy for all people who can become pregnant if only temporarily," a Lift Louisiana statement read. "Everyday that the TRO is in effect means another day people who need and deserve abortion services can access it."

"There will be a hearing on Monday, July 18, and we are hopeful that the judge concludes that trigger ban law is too vague, and that ambiguity clearly places pregnant people’s lives at risk and paralyzes doctors from making critical care decisions," the statement read.

Louisiana Right to Life also weighed in on Twitter.

"For decades, LA citizens through their elected legislators have been clear: protect unborn babies from abortion," the group posted. "These delays are a waste of taxpayer dollars. They lead to more precious innocent babies aborted. This is a disappointment to Louisiana."