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  • Pro-choice advocates rally at the Supreme in Washington, U.S., Jan. 18, 2019.

    Pro-choice advocates rally at the Supreme in Washington, U.S., Jan. 18, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 February 2019

Justice Samuel Alito stopped law that could force all of Louisiana’s abortion clinics to close.

The State of Louisiana's “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act” (UAPA) will be put on hold, until at least Feb.7, due to a U.S. Supreme Court order issued by Justice Samuel Alito.

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The Republican-backed UAPA, which imposes strict regulations on abortion clinics, requires a doctor to have "admitting privileges" at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is to be performed.

The Center for Reproductive Rights asked that the U.S. Supreme Court prevent the UACA from taking effect on Feb. 3, since its regulations will practically shut down two of the three qualified abortion providers in Louisiana, which has more than 4.6 million people.

The Louisiana anti-abortion law was passed in 2014 but courts have prevented it from taking effect several times since then. The Supreme Court also blocked the legislation in 2016, two days after hearing another major case involving a similar Texas measure that justices eventually struck down.

A federal district judge, who struck down UAPA in Jan. 2016, said the law created an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion under existing Supreme Court precedent.

In Sep. 2018, however, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the UAPA, saying there was no evidence any clinics would close as a result of the "admitting privileges" requirement.

Numerous measures have been approved in conservative U.S. states that impose a variety of restrictions on abortion, as abortion opponents in state legislatures try to chip away at the availability of abortions.

According to feminist critics, given that abortion has been legal in the U.S. since 1973, the UAPA is an example of a conservative strategy that seeks to restrict "de facto" women's rights by closing clinics that offer abortions, especially in the south of the country.

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