Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion clinic regulations

Chief Justice Roberts joins court’s four liberals to block Louisiana from enforcing law, pending full review of the case

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC during the 2018 March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]
Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC during the 2018 March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

A divided Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortionrights.

The justices said in a 5-4 decision late Thursday that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case.

President Donald Trump‘s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were among the four conservative members of the court who would have allowed the law to take effect.

Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion in which he said the court’s action was premature because the state had made clear it would allow abortion providers an additional 45 days to obtain admitting privileges before it started enforcing the law.

If the doctors succeed, they can continue performing abortions, he said. If they fail, they could return to court, Kavanaugh said.

The law is very similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down three years ago. Roberts dissented in that case.

OPINION

American women’s right to choose is in danger

Ashley Andreou,Alexander Urry
by Ashley Andreou,Alexander Urry

But the composition of the court has changed since then, with Kavanaugh replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to strike down the Texas law.

Restrictions would close clinics, providers say

Louisiana abortion providers and a district judge who initially heard the case said one or maybe two of the state’s three abortion clinics would have to close under the new law. There would be at most two doctors who could meet its requirements, they said.

But the federal appeals court in New Orleans rejected those claims, doubting that any clinics would have to close and said the doctors had not tried hard enough to establish relationships with local hospitals.

In January, the full appeals court voted 9-6 not to get involved in the case, setting up the Supreme Court appeal.

The law had been scheduled to take effect Monday, but Justice Samuel Alito delayed the effective date at least through Thursday to give the justices more time.

The justices could decide this spring whether to add the case, June Medical Services v Gee, to their calendar for the term that begins in October.

‘Pro-life’ justices

Trump had pledged during the campaign to appoint “pro-life” justices – judges who are opposed to abortion rights – and abortion opponents are hoping the more conservative bench will be more open to upholding abortion restrictions.

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Under Trump, states step up effort to restrict abortion access

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump called for legislation to limit what he and anti-abortion rights activists describe as “late-term abortion”.

While such legislation at the federal level is unlikely, research at the Guttmacher Institute shows that about 20 states already have laws in place that restricts abortion after about 20 weeks post-fertilisation.

Since Trump came to power, a number of states have also introduced measures that seek to restrict abortion access.

Other states, including New York, have passed laws to ensure that abortion access would still be protected if the Supreme Court were to overturn parts or all of Roe v Wade, a 1973 decision that blocks states from prohibiting abortion.

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Kansas City Builds Tiny House Village for Homeless Veterans

FEBRUARY 5, 2019 AT 1:30 PM
Kansas City refuses to leave veterans on the streets, builds them their own “town” for free

Approximately 40 percent of homeless men are veterans, according to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Nearly half of those suffer from mental illness such as post traumatic stress disorder and another 50 percent struggle with substance abuse.

While government programs do exist to help veterans re-acclimate to civilian life, too many fall through the cracks.

So the citizens of Kansas City and other concerned Americans have decided to take matters into their own hands.

By donating to a private, non-profit organization called Veterans Community Project, founded by fellow veterans, they’re helping build tiny-house communities for homeless veterans around the country.

The first “Veterans Village” was recently completed in Kansas City.

The neighborhood of 50 tiny houses gives struggling veterans the perfect blend of community and privacy, to help them feel more connected and safe. Many struggled to live in group shelters because of PTSD.

“We’re pulling these guys out of the trenches in their battle and saving their lives because they would have done the exact same for us,” co-founder and fellow veteran Brandon Mixon told CNN.

Mixon faced challenges with city officials who didn’t want “another trailer park” built in the city. But because of the overwhelming community support the project received, the city eventually gave in.

In the center of the tiny-house neighborhood is a community center, where the residents can get free health care, mental health care, dental care, and assistance finding jobs.

The houses come stocked with food and household necessities, which can be restocked as needed, until the veterans can get back on their feet again.

The founders say hundreds of cities are interested in replicating the project. The charity’s next stop will be in Nashville, Tennessee.

To donate, visit VeteransCommunityProject.org.

Good Samaritan picks up hotel tab for 70 homeless in Chicago

Good Samaritan picks up hotel tab for 70 homeless in Chicago

Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A good Samaritan offered to pay for hotel rooms for 70 homeless people in Chicago who were camped out in tents amid the bitter cold that blanketed Chicago.

The offer came after the Chicago Fire Department on Wednesday confiscated nearly 100 propane tanks given the group to keep them warm as temperatures sank to negative 22 (negative 20 Celsius). The department acted after one of the donated tanks exploded.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev said city officials told the organization about their actions at the camp. The Salvation Army was about to move the people to a warming center when the city called again and informed them of the gesture.

Rachev was not sure of the identity of the good Samaritan and only knew the hotel was on the city’s South Side.