Judge: Louisiana Abortion Law Enforcement Ban Stands For Now

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A federal judge in Baton Rouge says he won't drop his temporary order against enforcing Louisiana's latest abortion law.

         Judge John deGravelles says he's keeping the order in effect until a March 30 hearing about whether to continue the ban until there's a verdict in the case.

         The new law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

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         The temporary order forbids any penalties against doctors who perform abortions while their applications for admitting privileges are pending.

         The judge had asked attorneys whether the decision by clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge to drop their challenge should affect his order.

         He wrote Thursday that he had learned that only one of six doctors performing abortions in the state has admitting privileges, and the other five have applied for such privileges. He also wrote that he learned that if the other five are denied admitting privileges, the doctor who could still legally perform abortions would stop because of fear for his safety.

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         If that happened, he wrote, Louisiana women would be denied their constitutionally protected access to abortions.

         The Baton Rouge and New Orleans clinics filed suit after clinics in Metairie, Shreveport and Bossier City. The two suits were combined, and the original suit remains intact.


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