Louisiana AG: Argument against Unsafe Abortion Act ‘absolutely a lie’

Screen Shot 2020 03 07 at 114251 AM Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, March 5, 2020. / EWTN

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has dismissed arguments made before the Supreme Court against a state abortion law as "absolutely a lie." In a Thursday interview, Landry said efforts to conflate the case with a Texas law regulating abortion clinics, struck down by the court in 2016, were clearly false. 

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case June Medical Serves v. Russo on Wednesday, as lawyers for a Louisiana abortion clinic challenged the state's Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, which requires that abortionists in the state have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility.

Critics of the law have likened it to a similar statute in Texas which the Supreme Court struck down in the case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016. The court ruled that the admitting privileges requirement in Texas' H.B. 2 placed "an undue burden on abortion access." 

In an interview Thursday on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Landry said there was no reasonable parallel to be drawn between the two cases. 

The Texas law, he argued, singled out abortion facilities by only requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges, without making that a requirement for other ambulatory surgical centers. Under the Louisiana law, abortion centers are simply being brought into line with existing regulation - doctors at all other ambulatory surgical centers are already required to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, regardless of the type of procedure they perform. 

Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, Landry said, brings abortion clinics out of a "no-man's land," making them subject to the same regulations other ambulatory surgical centers already meet in Louisiana.  

Landry argued that by conflating the two separate laws and cases surrounding them, the mainstream media is echoing the plaintiff's argument "which is absolutely a lie." 

"Texas' law and Louisiana's law and the cases are as different as an apple and an orange," he said. 

Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill, who defended the law before the Supreme Court, agreed, saying in the same interview that abortionists "shouldn't be given a special exemption to rules that we're applying to other doctors in our state."

Murrill said there is a "robust legislative record to support our law," and argued that the law was being challenged by those with an interest in deregulation - an interest in clear conflict with what was best for women.

"I think it's just fundamentally in conflict with the interests of the people who are protected with health and safety regulations," Murrill said. "If you think about a seat belt law, we wouldn't let Ford Motor Company challenge a seatbelt law or an airbag law in the name of the people who are protected by that airbag."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Liz Murrill, Louisiana's Solicitor General, defended Louisiana's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ProLife?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ProLife</a> law in the Supreme Court yesterday. It was a case brought on by an abortion facility over admitting privileges. Murrill explains why she considers this a conflict of interest. <a href="https://t.co/lPIPd7paoS">pic.twitter.com/lPIPd7paoS</a></p>&mdash; EWTN Pro-Life Weekly (@EWTNProLife) <a href="https://twitter.com/EWTNProLife/status/1235719240767791104?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 6, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Kate Scanlon is a producer for EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

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