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New Orleans moves to decriminalize abortion amid Louisiana's ban

Council President Helena Moreno called the state's abortion laws "draconian," adding that the council would "take strong action to protect pregnant people..."

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans City Council voted on Thursday to decriminalize Louisiana's abortion laws, declaring that city funds will not be used to enforce the state's ban on abortion.

The resolution would declare that it is the city's policy to prohibit public dollars from being used by any law enforcement or investigative agency to enforce Louisiana's trigger law on abortion.

Council President Helena Moreno called the state's abortion laws "draconian," adding that the council would "take strong action to protect pregnant people and professionals in our community." All seven of the city's council members co-authored the legislation.

"We need rapid federal action to secure reproductive rights and strike back at the unjust laws that would limit our freedoms," Moreno said.

Moreno said the action is similar to legislation advanced in Austin, Atlanta and other cities.

Nearly two weeks after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned, an abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, is still providing abortions. But the Hope Medical Group for Women faces a looming court case on Friday that could spell an end to that. 

For years, Louisiana's abortion clinics have operated under increasing layers of restrictions designed to limit who can get an abortion and when. Then the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that provided federal protection for abortions, leaving the decision up to individual states.

Like many states Louisiana has a trigger law designed to immediately halt abortions if Roe is overturned. But nearly two weeks after the June 24 ruling, the Shreveport clinic was still open and providing abortions to patients from all over Louisiana, as well as states like neighboring Texas and Mississippi.

The clinic filed for a temporary restraining order to allow the state’s three clinics to remain open, arguing that multiple trigger provisions in the law make it unclear exactly when the ban takes effect, and that the law’s medical exceptions are unclear.

A judge in New Orleans granted the temporary measure pending a Friday court hearing. The state’s attorney general appealed directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court but on Wednesday the court declined to immediately intervene, leaving the abortion ban on hold.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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