Once the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade late last month, ending a half-century of a right to an abortion, Louisiana’s long-dormant ban on the procedure took effect.
Since then, however, the law has been a tangled web of court challenges, stays and procedural maneuvers.
Here’s a timeline of the state’s ban.
2006: Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, signed into law a strict ban on abortion that would take effect if Roe were overturned. The Legislature, long dominated by anti-abortion lawmakers, shot down attempts to add exceptions for victims of rape and incest. Instead, they passed a “trigger ban” that would subject doctors or others who provided abortions to 1- to 10-year prison terms.
June 21, 2022: Gov. John Bel Edwards, another anti-abortion Democrat, signed an updated version of the “trigger ban” that called for 10- and 15-year prison sentences for doctors convicted of providing abortions. The Legislature again shot down attempts to exempt victims of rape and incest.
June 24, 2022: The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Louisiana Department of Health immediately sent letters to the state’s three abortion clinics (located in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans) telling them the long-dormant trigger ban was in effect. The clinics shut down.
June 27, 2022: Orleans Civil District Judge Robin Giarusso blocked the enforcement of the trigger ban, issuing a temporary restraining order at the request of abortion providers who sued the state. The plaintiffs, including the Shreveport clinic and a nonprofit group with New Orleans chapters, argued the state’s law was unconstitutionally vague, among other things. The clinics reopened, offering abortions to patients.
July 8, 2022: After nearly two weeks of clinics providing abortions, another judge, Orleans Civil District Judge Ethel Simms Julien, ruled in favor of Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is defending the ban, on a procedural issue. Julien ruled the case must play out in Baton Rouge, not New Orleans. She also ruled that she couldn’t extend the stay of the law, meaning the ban went back into effect. The clinics shut down again.
July 12, 2022: With the case transferred to the 19th Judicial District in East Baton Rouge Parish, Judge Don Johnson granted a new temporary restraining order, blocking the state from enforcing the trigger ban. The clinics reopened.
July 21, 2022: After a court hearing, Judge Don Johnson ruled in favor of abortion providers who sued the state, arguing the state’s laws banning abortions at all points in pregnancy are too vague. He granted a preliminary injunction blocking the ban.
July 29, 2022: A Louisiana appeals court ruled the state’s strict ban on abortion must be reinstated as the ongoing legal challenge to the ban plays out.