Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law

State News
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FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, people stand on the steps of the Supreme Court at sunset in Washington.The Supreme Court is stopping Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortion rights. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that women’s groups said would leave only a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions in the state.

By 5-4 vote, the court said the restrictions must remain on hold while challengers appeal a lower court decision in favor of the law.

The vote was not a ruling on the legal merits of the Louisiana restriction, but the decision to keep the law on hold signals that a majority of the justices have doubts about its constitutionality.

Passed by the state legislature in 2014, the measure requires any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Two Louisiana doctors and a clinic filed a legal challenge, arguing that it was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. In that ruling, joined by Justice Kennedy, the court said Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing them any medical benefits.

The Louisiana law was set to take effect on Friday. 

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