(1 hour podcast)
- Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
- Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
- Kathaleen Pittman, administrator of Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La., the main plaintiff in June Medical v. Russo.
- Mary Ziegler, Stearns Weaver Miller professor at Florida State University College of Law specializing in the legal history of reproduction, the family, sexuality and the Constitution.
In this Episode:
In June Medical v. Russo, the Supreme Court struck down a challenge to abortion rights in Louisiana, a state in which reproductive health care access is already fraught. The law would have required all doctors performing abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Even though this case has put such challenges to rest, lawmakers in Louisiana have effectively undercut women’s access to reproductive healthcare, causing clinic closures and more. As our guests make clear, Roe is not enough.
States have passed hundreds of anti-abortion laws in the last few years. At the Supreme Court, we were successful in striking down just one.
Kathaleen Pittman, Opinion contributor
June 30, 2020
For six years, my lawyers have been fighting a law that would have shut down the abortion clinic I run in Shreveport, Louisiana — Hope Medical Group for Women. On Monday, we won in the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, meaning we can stay open for our patients. I am relieved that the court saw through Louisiana’s deceitful attempts to shut us down, but I'm still deeply worried.
I wish the relentless attempts by politicians to shut down our clinic would finally stop. I know they won’t.
The Fight to Protect Abortion Access Amid the Pandemic
June 15 2020
It wasn’t much past 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning in late April, and anti-choice protesters outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, were already cantankerous: There were three men with bullhorns, including one on top of a ladder; a 1,200-watt speaker pointing toward the clinic’s front door; and another protester blowing a shofar. “Welcome to the circus,” said Kim Gibson, a clinic escort who works to keep the mayhem away from patients.
Even as the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the nation (new cases are still on the rise in Mississippi), protesters disregarded Jackson’s stay-at-home order and have consistently failed to wear masks or keep appropriate social distance — not only from one another, but also from patients, whose cars they readily approach in an effort to “counsel” them and hand out anti-abortion propaganda.
The Supreme Court Might Be About to Make It Nearly Impossible to Stop Anti-Abortion Laws
This case is the biggest abortion test of the Trump-era court.
by Carter Sherman
May 30 2020
The Supreme Court is expecting to rule in the coming weeks on the biggest abortion case of the Trump era.
Technically, the case asks whether Louisiana doctors must possess admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a requirement that would force all but one clinic in the state to close. But Louisiana has also raised the stakes very, very high for the rest of the nation: If the Supreme Court sides with Louisiana, abortion providers may completely lose the right to sue on their patients’ behalf.
Abortion Foes Use the Pandemic as an Excuse
Officials hope to achieve their goal of effectively banning the procedure.
March 26, 2020
Who would have thought COVID-19 would give anti-abortion forces the quick victory they could not win in the courts, in the legislative process, or through the deployment of screaming protesters outside clinics? Claiming abortion is a nonessential service that can be postponed so that the clinics’ medical resources can be used to fight the coronavirus, officials in Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana have moved to severely restrict or cut off abortion services completely; the governor of Mississippi announced his intention this week to do the same. Opponents of women’s reproductive rights hope to achieve, with the stroke of a pen, their dream of making states abortion-free.
For patients at these clinics, the situation is terrifying. “We have patients crying on the phone and staff crying with them,” Kathaleen Pittman, the director of Hope Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, told me. “This is hard. So hard.” The clinic is open but has postponed all of its appointments. “We’re looking at all our options,” Pittman said.
An Abortion Clinic’s Fate Before a Transformed Supreme Court
The court will soon hear arguments in its first major abortion case since the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. It could leave Louisiana with a single abortion clinic.
By Adam Liptak
March 3, 2020
SHREVEPORT, La. — Kathaleen Pittman, the director of the Hope Medical Group for Women, remembers when there were 11 abortion clinics in Louisiana. Now there are only three, hers among them. Soon, depending on how the Supreme Court rules in a case to be argued on Wednesday, there may be just one, in New Orleans, more than 300 miles away.
Since 1973, when the court established a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, Louisiana has enacted 89 abortion restrictions, the most of any state. The restriction at issue nowrequires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Getting an abortion in “the most pro-life state in America”
Welcome to the Louisiana clinic at the center of the court case that could gut Roe v. Wade.
By Anna North
Feb 19, 2020
Photographs by Annie Flanagan for Vox
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — The first patients arrive around 10 am.
They wear boots and coats against the December cold, but there’s coffee inside to help them warm up. Christmas figurines — a Santa holding a tree, a quaint house covered in snow — give the place a homey feel. In the waiting room, Friends plays on the TV.
Even before they sit down, though, patients are confronted with reminders that this place is under threat.
A nervous wait at Louisiana abortion clinic at center of U.S. Supreme Court fight
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters
February 18, 2020
SHREVEPORT — A 27-year-old woman from southern Arkansas waited nervously at the Hope Medical Group for Women after traveling two hours for a medical procedure that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in certain parts of the United States: an abortion.
Four weeks pregnant, the woman felt she had no option but to seek an abortion because she suffered serious medical complications during her last pregnancy, which ended in stillbirth.
The Louisiana Clinic At The Center Of Abortion Case Before Supreme Court
December 29, 2019
On a recent Saturday morning at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La., Kathaleen Pittman was preparing for a day of procedures, as a couple dozen patients sat quietly in the waiting area.
Her clinic is challenging a law passed by Louisiana's state legislature in 2014, which requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of an emergency. The case, June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, is scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court next year, and the court's decision has the potential to chip away at existing precedent protecting abortion rights.
Louisiana could become the first state without abortion access as soon as next year
By Kate Smith, CBS News
October 18, 2019
Louisiana could become the first state not to have legal abortion access since the procedure was legalized in 1973. Depending on the outcome of an upcoming Supreme Court case next spring, the state could see abortion access effectively eliminated, even though Roe v. Wade — the case that legalized the procedure — would stay intact.
Louisiana's "Unsafe Abortion Protection Act" is at the heart of the Supreme Court case. The law, not currently in effect, would require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters of the law say the regulation would assist with "continuity of care" in the event of an emergency.