Louisiana Abortion Opponents Weaponizing Religion Against Women, CFI tells Supreme Court

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2019
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is urging the Supreme Court to recognize and reject a transparently cynical ploy by Louisiana politicians to impose draconian abortion restrictions on women in the state. In the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, abortion opponents are resurrecting previously refuted tactics from Texas’s landmark abortion case, falsely claiming that their restrictions are intended to ensure women’s health, when what they actually seek is control over women’s bodies.

CFI joined an amicus brief written by attorneys from the law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP, on behalf of Ibis Reproductive Health, an organization dedicated to the promotion of sexual and reproductive autonomy, choices, and health worldwide. Also joining the brief along with CFI is a coalition of organizations committed to supporting and improving women’s and reproductive health care. The brief can be read here.

The Louisiana law being challenged requires abortion providers in that state to maintain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. A functionally identical requirement in Texas was ruled unconstitutional in 2016 by the Supreme Court in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt. An amicus brief in that case, written by CFI on behalf of individual scientists, science educators, and skeptics such as Eugenie Scott, Carol Tavris, Jill Tarter, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and James Randi, argued that the evidence put forward by alleged expert witnesses on behalf of Texas was flawed pseudoscience and should be discounted.

“Having lost just a few years ago at the Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit is once again endorsing a false narrative that abortion is an unsafe procedure and that women need protection from those who practice it. This is categorically a lie,” said Nick Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “Abortion is one of the safest procedures performed in the United States, and everyone involved in this case on either side knows this. What politicians in states like Louisiana want, as they have admitted, is not safe abortions, but NO abortions whatsoever.”

The amicus brief attacks the credibility of Louisiana’s claims that its regulation of abortion is to protect the health of those undergoing the procedure by pointing out that Louisiana has repeatedly and consistently made policy choices that undermine the health of its citizens, especially women. Louisiana’s choices in health care policy have led to one of the nation’s highest maternal mortality rates, and a similarly high premature birth rate, and an HIV infection rate twice the national average. The abortion policy, far from seeking to make the procedure safer for women, is designed to close down abortion providers in the state.

“CFI is committed to evidence-based policies across the board, but particularly in regard to health care,” said Robyn Blumner, CFI’s President and CEO. “Louisiana politicians must not be allowed to weaponize their religious prejudice against abortion and deny women their constitutionally protected right to choose to terminate their pregnancies. CFI always has, and always will, defend a woman’s fundamental right to control her own body.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.