Two states revive abortion bans after court rulings, one state blocks an abortion ban

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and issued its ruling on the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health case, the issue of abortion became a state issue. Each state makes its own laws on abortion since it is no longer a federal issue. Some states are involved in legal battles over the enforcement of trigger laws that were passed to go into effect in the event that Roe v Wade was overturned. Three states have updated information – two have abortion bans in effect and one is successfully fighting off a 1931 abortion ban, at least for now.


In Louisiana, the latest ruling in its legal battle over abortion has the ban on abortion back into effect. A state judge temporarily blocked the state’s trigger law from going into effect at the end of June. In July, Baton Rouge District Judge Donald Johnson ruled that abortion is legal in Louisiana. Then at the end of July, the 19th Judicial District granted a preliminary injunction blocking Louisiana’s trigger law on abortion. Now an appeals court has ruled the state’s near-total abortion ban can take effect. Back and forth, back and forth. The states that are trying to ban most abortions will be in legal battles in the near future. The abortion ban is to remain in effect as the state’s legal battles proceed.

A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the lower court must grant Attorney General Jeff Landry’s request for a “suspensive appeal,” which means the lower court’s order blocking the law must be suspended while Landry appeals. Earlier this month, Judge Don Johnson of the 19th Judicial District had granted abortion providers a preliminary injunction against the “trigger ban” on abortion.

The plaintiffs could still ask the state Supreme Court to step in and overrule the 1st Circuit. Judges J. Michael McDonald, Mitchell R. Theriot and Wayne Ray Chutz, all Republicans, signed the order Friday, saying Johnson is “ordered to grant” the suspensive appeal.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the ban would go back into effect. Johnson had not granted the motion to reinstate the ban as of Friday afternoon. The plaintiffs’ attorneys say the ban isn’t in effect until that happens.


The next update is on Kentucky’s abortion law. Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Larry E. Thompson reversed a lower court’s order that temporarily allowed abortions to continue in the state. The lower court’s order was issued less than two weeks ago so you can see how quickly the rulings are coming and how the legality of abortions in different states is ping-ponging back and forth. Legal one day, not legal the next.

The decision by Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Larry E. Thompson means that abortions are again illegal in the state, unless the mother is at risk of death or serious permanent injury, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Health-care workers who provide abortion services can face up to five years in prison, though mothers are not subject to criminal liability.

The order came in response to a request by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) that the appellate court overturn a July 22 decision by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry, who had sided with abortion providers.

Both Louisiana and Kentucky have strict abortion laws that do not have exceptions for rape or incest but they do have exceptions for the health of the mother. Most polling shows that the majority o Americans support limits on abortion but also support exceptions for rape and incest, besides protecting the life of the mother.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is pleased with the latest ruling. Cameron is a Republican who is running for governor. He has the endorsement of Trump.

Cameron welcomed Thompson’s ruling. “I appreciate the court’s decision to allow Kentucky’s pro-life laws to take effect while we continue to vigorously defend the constitutionality of these important protections for women and unborn children,” Kentucky’s attorney general said.

Cameron is ultimately seeking the state Supreme Court’s permission to let the Human Life Protection Act, which bans abortions with almost no exceptions, and the Heartbeat Law, which bans abortions after about six weeks into pregnancy, be enforced as he litigates against abortion rights advocates who say the bans go against Kentucky’s constitution.


The last update is on Michigan. Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham blocked enforcement of a 1931 ban on abortions just hours after the state Court of Appeals said county prosecutors were not covered by a May order. His ruling was at the request of attorneys representing Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a pro-abortion Democrat. The Michigan ban also only has exceptions for the life of the mother.

Cunningham issued a restraining order against prosecutors in counties with abortion providers and scheduled a hearing for Wednesday.

“The legal fight in Michigan continues and this temporary restraining order ensures prosecutors cannot target women or providers in the short term,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who won’t defend the 1931 law, which makes it a crime to perform abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger.

Now the argument is between county prosecutors and the state. Seven Democrat county prosecutors say they will not enforce the 1931 law if ordered do so. Planned Parenthood of Michigan will continue to perform abortions. Meanwhile, abortion activists submitted signatures in support of a state constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November. It would allow the right to abortion and protect the right to birth control. If it passes, it will supersede the 1931 law.

Several states are still in legal battles over abortion. As I mentioned above, it will be like this for the near future. Back and forth.

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