New Orleans Files Ordinance to Prevent Use of Public Money for Prosecuting Abortions

Photo by VegasJon, Wikimedia

On Tuesday, the City of New Orleans filed an ordinance that prohibits law enforcement and City departments from using public funds to prosecute abortions. Enforcing the state’s trigger law banning abortion is the “lowest priority for the City,” the ordinance says.

In addition, on Monday Orleans Parish civil district court just Robin Giarrusso issued a temporary restraining order that effectively lifts Lousiana’s abortion ban until July 8, when the court will hear a legal challenge to the ban brought by Hope Medical Group for Women, a Shreveport-based abortion clinic.

“We’re going to do what we can,” said Kathaleen Pittman, administrator of Hope Medical Group. “It could all come to a screeching halt.”

According to the lawsuit, Louisiana’s multiple abortion bans are “vague” and conflicting, and don’t make clear whether an abortion ban is actually in effect, who is responsible for enforcing any abortion ban, and what the penalties are for performing abortions in the event of a ban.

“Each of the three trigger bans excepts different conduct, making it impossible to know what abortion care is illegal and what is allowed, including what care can be provided to save a woman’s life or end a medically futile pregnancy,” Judge Giarrusso wrote in her judgment.

Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Courtney Phillips are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

“It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to utilize confusion, misinformation, and deceit as scare tactics in the face of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision,” Landry tweeted on Monday.

Several states that had “trigger laws” on the books intended to immediately ban abortions following the overturn of Roe v. Wade are facing similar legal challenges. On Monday, a national group of 22 attorneys general issued a statement promising to help women in states where abortions have been banned.

“While the US supreme court’s decision reverses nearly half a century of legal precedent and undermines the rights of people across the United States, we’re joining together to reaffirm our commitment to supporting and expanding access to abortion care nationwide,” the statement said. “Ultimately, what harms people in some states harms us all. The future and wellbeing of our nation is intrinsically tied to the ability of our residents to exercise their fundamental rights.”

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