Resource: June Medical Services LLC v. Russo

By: Oyez

November 3, 2022

In June 2014, Louisiana passed Act 620, which required “that every physician who performs or induces an abortion shall ‘have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.’” Several abortion clinics and doctors challenged Act 620, and while that challenge was pending in the district court, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a “nearly identical” Texas law in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (WWH), finding that the Texas law imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion while bringing about no “health-related benefit” and serving no “relevant credentialing function.” The district court hearing the challenge to Act 620 accordingly declared Act 620 facially invalid and permanently enjoined its enforcement. The district court made detailed findings of fact and determined that “admitting privileges also do not serve ‘any relevant credentialing function,’” and that “physicians are sometimes denied privileges … for reasons unrelated to [medical] competency.” The district court further determined that the law would “drastically burden women’s right to choose abortions.” A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit the panel majority reviewed the evidence de novo and concluded that the district court erred by overlooking “remarkabl[e] differen[ces]” between the facts in this case and in WWH. The panel concluded that “no clinics will likely be forced to close on account of the Act,” and thus, the law would not impose an undue burden on women’s right to choose abortions. A divided Fifth Circuit denied the petition for a rehearing en banc.