Attorney General Leslie Rutledge trumpeted today her intervention in another case intended to limit women’s medical rights by restricting access to abortion and her news release was even more mendacious than usual.
Rutledge has joined a 20-state anti-abortion coalition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their facilities.
It is one of a laundry list of anti-abortion laws passed in states such as Arkansas intended to put a de facto end to abortion, legal though it otherwise remains. No such limitations are put on any other facet of medical practice, including practices far more dangerous than, for example, the two-pill regimen to cause a miscarriage in the first eight weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion is a comparatively safe procedure, safer than childbirth. The restriction Rutledge defends is medically unnecessary and has the effect of putting abortion out of reach of many women, particularly the poor. It has been decried by, among others, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association.
Yet, Rutledge headlines her news release:
She supports the opposite: A limitation on a safe procedure sought by women with unwanted or problem pregnancies. She supports a law that doctors criticize. She supports a law that will let hospitals, particularly religious ones, exercise a veto over a woman’s access to abortion. Read more here.
Finally, there is no other way to characterize this Rutledge news release sentence about her support for this and other laws as anything but a lie:
These laws are not about overturning Roe v. Wade or restricting access to legal abortions.
Even the most zealous opponents of abortion — the honest ones — would say of course the laws are meant to restrict access to legal abortions. And they work, with a diminishing number of providers subject to increasing legal restrictions, along with harassment and threats.
Protecting women’s health? Not Leslie Rutledge. This is what the district judge who blocked the law said:
“The record in this case demonstrates that Act 620 does not advance Louisiana’s legitimate interest in protecting the health of women seeking abortions. Instead, Act 620 would increase the risk of harm to women’s health by dramatically reducing the availability of safe abortion in Louisiana.”
This is a big case. It gives Barfin’ Bart O’Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch an opportunity to display their anti-abortion beliefs by expanding the limits to which states may go in denying medical rights to women.