We're Taking Louisiana Lawmakers to Court Over Abortion Restrictions that Violate the State Constitution

BATON ROUGE, LA – Reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates have filed suit in state court in Baton Rouge, challenging a Louisiana law that will delay or even preclude abortion access for young people by implementing harmful restrictions that limit young people’s access to the court system. If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice and Lift Louisiana are challenging the restrictions, which were passed in violation of the Louisiana Constitution and standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court. A preliminary injunction hearing has been set for August 5th.

“This law is a blatant violation of the Louisiana state constitution and standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it’s appalling that anti-abortion lawmakers thought they could get away with eschewing decades of policies, procedures, and traditions in the way we govern ourselves in this state,” said Michelle Erenberg, executive director of Lift Louisiana. “Not on our watch, and not at the expense of young people, who deserve access to abortion care without barriers, shame, and stigma.”

Forced parental involvement laws and the judicial bypass system already create significant barriers to accessing clinical care. Louisiana forces a young person to obtain written permission from a parent before accessing clinical abortion care, or else navigate the “judicial bypass” process, in which a young person must appear before a judge who has the power to approve or deny their decision to end a pregnancy. The new restrictions are set to go into effect on August 1, 2021.

“Anti-abortion politicians shoehorned these new restrictions into an unrelated, Big Brother-style data-collection bill seeking to mine information about people who have abortions in Louisiana,” said If/When/How Senior Youth Access Counsel Jessica Goldberg, J.D. “And with this latest move, lawmakers have piled on unnecessary and harmful restrictions aimed at preventing young people from navigating a system that already threatens their bodily autonomy by putting their future in the hands of a stranger — a judge.”

For information on forced parental involvement laws and the judicial bypass process across the country, visit If/When/How’s JB Wiki, or read our two-page fact sheet on our strategic initiative to improve young people’s abortion access. To learn more about reproductive health, rights, and justice advocacy in Louisiana, visit Lift Louisiana.

Donate today to support If/When/How’s work improving abortion access for young folks, and eliminating the barriers of forced parental involvement laws and judicial bypass.