Abortion Survey

In this Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 file picture, anti-abortion and pro-choice activists stand next to each other in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington during a rally on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Americans, regardless of generation, are deeply conflicted as they wrestle with the legality and morality of abortion, with a substantial majority identifying themselves as both "pro-choice" and "pro-life," according to a sweeping new survey. The detailed and nuanced findings were released Thursday, June 9, 2011 by the Public Religion Research Institute, based on a survey of 3,000 adults _ one of the largest ever to focus on Americans' views of abortion. 

A law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals won’t go into effect on Monday as scheduled, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary hold on it.

Justice Samuel Alito issued a one-page order late Friday noting that “the justices need time to review” court filings before deciding whether to grant a petition to block the law from taking effect while it continues to be challenged in court.

According to Alito’s order, the hold, which will prevent the law from being enforced at least through Feb. 7, is administrative and not a reflection of how the court may act once it has reviewed the case.

Act 620 was signed into law in 2014, but it’s being challenged in court by a pair of doctors who say it’s too onerous.

Because the application for the emergency hold is expected to be reviewed by the full court in the coming week, Louisiana’s law is widely being viewed as the first major test of how President Donald Trump’s appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately impact abortion laws across the country. Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh were not on the bench when a similar law in Texas was ruled unconstitutional nearly three years ago.

Both have testified that they see the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that affirms the right to access to abortions with limited restrictions as a settled matter, but the conservative jurists have drawn scrutiny from abortion rights advocates and some Democratic lawmakers.

The Texas law that, like Louisiana's, sought to require admitting privileges, was rejected on a 5-3 Supreme Court vote in 2016.

Supporters of the effort here say it's meant to make the procedure safer in case of complications, while opponents say it's an onerous requirement meant to create additional hurdles for those seeking abortions.

The crux of the argument against the law has been that it's modeled after the Texas law that the high court already struck down. But the 5th Circuit majority that agreed to uphold Act 620, ruled that “unlike in Texas, (Louisiana's law) does not impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women” and would affect, at most, 30 percent of Louisiana women.

Louisiana, which tends to be among states with the toughest restrictions on abortion access, has three remaining abortion clinics — one each in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. There were five when Act 620 passed the Louisiana Legislature in 2014. Opponents of the pending law say it would reduce the number further.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.