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November 18, 2022
Health Law Weekly

U.S. Court in Louisiana Vacates Injunction of Admitting Privileges Requirement for Doctors Performing Abortions

  • November 18, 2022

A federal court in Louisiana November 14 vacated an injunction of a state law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have “active admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the procedures are performed.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana issued the permanent injunction in 2017 after finding the law, Act 620, unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

The Louisiana Department of Health Secretary asked the court to overturn the injunction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(5) in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 142 S.Ct. 2228 (2022), which overruled Roe and Casey.

The clinics that initially challenged Act 620 argued that there was no reason to set aside the permanent injunction since Louisiana’s near-complete abortion ban took effect after the Dobbs ruling. All three abortion clinics in the state have stopped providing abortion care, foreclosing the possibility that their physicians would need to obtain admitting privileges under the Act.

But the court disagreed, holding that Rule 60(b)(5) served “as the proper basis for vacating laws dealing with abortion in light of Dobbs,” as numerous other federal courts have done. Because Act 620 satisfied rational basis review, the injunction should no longer stand, the court said.

“[T]he legal foundation of the Court's injunction banning the enforcement of Act 620 is no longer present. Thus, maintaining the injunction, as currently constituted, is no longer equitable,” the court concluded.

June Med. Servs. LLC v. Phillips, No. 14-525-JWD-RLB (M.D. La. Nov. 14, 2022).