The City of West Hollywood released a press release commending the United States Supreme Court for its ruling today that repeals the highly restrictive Louisiana abortion 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.”
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 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, contact Hernán Molina, the City of West Hollywood’s Governmental Affairs Liaison, at (323) 848-6364 or at [email protected].