A federal judge Wednesday (March 28, 2012) threw out Louisiana's abortion provider law, declaring it unconstitutional.
The law, R.S. 9:2800.12, on the books since 1997, was authored by one-term state Rep. Tom Thornhill (R- Dist, 76), Slidell attorney who served in the state Legislature from 1996-2000.
The strict liability law allowed legal action against doctors who performed abortions - regardless of whether they committed any fault or negligence in the abortion procedure. The law also excluded physicians who performed abortions from the benefits of Louisiana's tort reform laws.
In the judgment, U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan wrote that the law placed "an undue burden on women's right to abortion in violation of the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution..."
The suit, Hope Medical Group for Women v. LeBlanc, et al, was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and New Orleans attorney, William Rittenberg, after the state's Patient's Compensation Fund refused to convene a medical review panel to review a claim of malpractice brought against two physicians who perform abortions in Louisiana.
The judgment was in response to the Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the law is "void-for-vagueness."