The Untold Story in the June Medical Case: Clinic Violence

The June Medical Services v. Russo case involving Louisiana’s Act 620, which requires doctors performing abortions to have admission privileges at a state-sponsored hospital within 30 miles of the clinic is now before the Supreme Court, but in many important respects the verdict is already in.   

A wave of anti-abortion violence and harassment is growing, with threats against doctors, attacks on clinics and poisonous social media campaigns going unchallenged by our political leaders.   

Fear of anti-abortion violence and harassment has led to many hospitals denying admitting privileges to abortion providers. Nearly one in four abortion providers experienced severe violence and threats of violence in 2018, and 52 percent experienced targeted intimidation and threats, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s nationwide survey of U.S. abortion clinics. That is why Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Women’s Law Project filed an amicus brief in this case, stating our opposition to Louisiana’s Act 620. 

If the Court rules in favor of the state, the precedent it sets nationwide could be chilling. Predictably, as hospitals deny admitting privileges, many abortion providers will be unable to continue their practice, and remaining clinics will close as a result of more targeted violence. This leaves access to abortion care extremely restricted, and ultimately will hurt women. The Constitution protects a woman from unduly burdensome interference when exercising her right to abortion care, which is why the Court must rule against Louisiana in this case. 

Blog by Charlotte Klasson, president, Louisiana National Organization for Women and Toni Van Pelt, president, National Organization for Women. 

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