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City Commends Supreme Court for Decision Striking Down Louisiana Abortion Law and Affirming a Woman’s Right to Choose

Post Date:June 29, 2020 6:10 PM

SCOTUS SealThe City of West Hollywood commends the United States Supreme Court for its ruling today that repeals the highly restrictive Louisiana law (Act 620) that would have required physicians performing abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges and to be a physician in good standing at a local hospital in order to be able to perform abortions.

The Supreme Court, in June Medical Services v. Russo, ruled 5-to-4 that the Louisiana law violated the Constitution when it required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, John G. Roberts, Jr., and Sonia Sotomayor. 

The Louisiana law, which was very similar to a Texas law that was struck down in 2016 by the Supreme Court (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), was very specific about requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles from the clinic in which she/he performed an abortion. In authoring the majority opinion, which found Louisiana’s law unconstitutional, Justice Breyer stated: “The evidence also shows that opposition to abortion played a significant role in some hospitals’ decisions to deny admitting privileges.”

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is enormously important in the fight to protect access to safe and legal abortion,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “The Court’s ruling re-affirms a woman’s right to choose to seek an abortion, as in both the landmark Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision issued on January 22, 1973 and the 2016 ruling in the Whole Woman’s Health case in Texas. Act 620 was a blatant attempt by anti-choice extremists to close abortion clinics, intimidate medical professionals, and oppress women in Louisiana, with the goal of making it federal court precedent. While we cannot take anything for granted, today’s decision is a sign of hope that the Supreme Court will continue to affirm the precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade. We will not sit by and we will not back down. All women everywhere must have control over our bodies, our decisions, and our lives. We must remain vigilant to guard a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.”

Part of the Court’s majority decision reads: “The record here establishes that Act 620’s admitting-privileges requirement places a substantial obstacle in the path of a large fraction of those women seeking an abortion for whom it is a relevant restriction... This case is similar to, nearly identical with, Whole Woman’s Health. And the law must consequently reach a similar conclusion... conditions on admitting privileges common to hospitals throughout the State have made and will continue to make it impossible for abortion providers to obtain conforming privileges for reasons that have nothing to do with the State’s asserted interests in promoting women’s health and safety… Act 620 is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals’ judgment is erroneous. It is Reversed.”

The regulations at issue in Louisiana are distinct from other state laws making their way through court challenges that would ban abortions early in a pregnancy. Those include bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks, and the almost total ban passed in Alabama. 

The City of West Hollywood, in 1993, was the first city in the nation to declare itself pro-choice and the City has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare. More recently, in May 2019, West Hollywood became the first city in the nation to enact financial sanctions and take action against states that have passed extreme anti-choice legislation.

The City of West Hollywood supports women and fights for equal rights. The City has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare and the City has a strong record of supporting initiatives that call for equal pay for equal work. The City also has a Women’s Advisory Board, which is involved in a myriad of programming and events that recognize and support women in the community.

The City of West Hollywood is like no other city in the world. Located in the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles, the city was incorporated in 1984 by a unique collaboration of people including LGBT activists, seniors, and advocates for affordable housing. At only 1.9 square miles, West Hollywood is a robust economic and cultural center instilled with idealism, creativity, and innovation. A spirit of community activism and civic pride thrives in West Hollywood for many of its approximately 35,000 residents and the city has a strong progressive political voice.

The City of West Hollywood remains in a declared local emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While Los Angeles County is allowing for a phased reopening of some businesses and activities, coronavirus transmission and COVID-19 disease remain a serious risk. West Hollywood City Hall is currently closed to in-person transactions, but City Hall services remain accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org. City of West Hollywood coronavirus information is available at www.weho.org/coronavirus.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Legislative Affairs efforts, please contact Hernán Molina, the City of West Hollywood’s Governmental Affairs Liaison, at (323) 848-6364 or at hmolina@weho.org

For reporters and members of the media seeking additional information about the City of West Hollywood, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Public Information Officer, Sheri A. Lunn, at (323) 848-6391 or slunn@weho.org.

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