Opinion: Blocking the Louisiana abortion law

Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, arrives to hear President Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked restrictive abortion legislation from becoming the law. This legislation would have left Louisiana with only one doctor able to provide a safe, legal abortion.

The Supreme Court justices voted with a 5-4 majority, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer opposing the enactment of the law. Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would have been in favor of the law, had it been enacted.

Although this action is only temporary, as the law will soon be debated again, the fact that this law was blocked is a step in the positive direction for women’s rights. The Supreme Court blocked a law that would have put the lives and livelihoods of many women at risk. The law would have also set an unfortunate precedent, as it would be yet another law taking away the right of a woman to have control over her body.

Commonly known as Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, this law has been blocked since 2014. Essentially, the law requires that a doctor providing an abortion must have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius of the clinic where the abortion is taking place.

Proponents of the law argued that if the law is enacted, abortions will be safer, as the doctors providing abortions would be more competent. However, contrary to this justification, it would actually give rise to more unsafe abortions.

Not only is this law medically irrelevant, but it would theoretically only allow for one abortion clinic in Louisiana to remain open.

As of now, there are three clinics in Louisiana that are still open. If the law was not blocked, women all over Louisiana would have to travel to one clinic, no matter their urgency or how far it was. With fewer options for women, more unsafe, illegal abortions would take place, which would be extremely dangerous, as they may not be sanitary or done properly, leading to infection or even death.

The medical irrelevance of the law stems from the fact that abortions are generally very safe and simple procedures. Therefore, abortions seldom need to be provided by hospitals; abortion clinics are capable of providing this service. Abortion clinics also have transfer agreements with hospitals so that if a patient needs it, she can be transferred to be further cared for in a hospital. Even so, patients very rarely need extra care in a hospital.

From this, it is obvious that the abortion law, if it was not blocked, would have done a great disservice to women; the women who wanted or needed abortions would not have had the proper access to it, and may have been forced to turn to methods that are unsafe and illegal.

The Supreme Court Justices did the right thing by blocking the law — women in Louisiana still have access to three clinics, which gives them more options. This helps ensure the safety of many of these women because with these clinics, they do not have to turn to unsafe methods of abortion.

This law will likely next be debated later in the year. The best course of action would be to block the law again, and hopefully, in the future, the law can be countered so that it is never brought up in Louisiana or any other state ever again.

Women deserve proper access to the healthcare that they need; this includes abortions. We should be able to look toward a future in which all women across the country have sufficient access to abortion clinics. Each state should have multiple clinics so that women all around the state are able to access them and get the care that they need and deserve.


Anika Veeraraghav is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at anika.veeraraghav@uconn.edu.