What Happens in Louisiana If SCOTUS Overturns Roe v. Wade

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A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision shows Louisiana women may be about to lose their abortion access in the state. Although more legal challenges can be expected, a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco in 2006 would immediately go into effect.

That law outlaws abortions completely in Louisiana, with the only exception being if a doctor agreed that the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life or would permanently damage a “life-sustaining organ.” It does not include exceptions in the case of rape or incest.

Right-wing Americans have long hoped that Roe vs. Wade would one day be overturned, with abortion serving as a central issue for many Republican politicians and voters.

“Ultimately, it’s my hope and many others that the Supreme Court will change its mind and then states will have the right to make that decision,” said U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise in 2006, when he was serving in the Louisiana House.

It seems his wish may come true. According to Politico, which originally published the leaked draft opinion, US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito writes that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.” He goes on to say, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

While it’s not unheard of for Justices to change their votes as draft opinions circulate, it seems unlikely in a majority-conservative Court. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barret reportedly voted with Alito. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are reportedly working on dissents. It’s not known how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote.

In response to the leaked decision, several protests are scheduled both in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge at the state capitol.

“Abortion access is one of several fundamental rights under attack in the US, including our right to vote, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and a host of other rights intertwined with our right to liberty in which Roe v. Wade was grounded,” said the National Organization for Women Baton Rouge Chapter on their event page.

“Abortion bans are systemic discrimination and racism in action – and the impact of this decision will be profoundly harmful. This decision will fall hardest on people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care – particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet.

“Abortion bans and restrictions are part of the intertwined systems of oppression that deny Black, Indigenous, and people of color access to health care and other human rights. This Supreme Court has once again failed people of color and those living on lower incomes. Cleary precedent and integrity mean nothing to this Court.”

For those wishing to participate, Rallies for Roe will be happening on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the New Orleans Circut Court, and in Lafayette Square Park in New Orleans at 5pm today.

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