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Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Judicial Watch Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief Opposing Effort to Overturn Louisiana Abortion Protection Law

Abortion providers lack standing to challenge health and safety regulations on behalf of patients

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Dr. Rebecca Gee v. June Medical Services, et al. (No. 18-1460), in which it opposes abortion providers’ efforts to overturn Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. In its brief, Judicial Watch argues that abortion providers petitioning the court to overturn the law lack a legally protectable interest in the outcome, otherwise known as “standing.”

Judicial Watch points out that plaintiffs generally may file a lawsuit only to protect their own rights, not the rights of others. In this litigation, the lower courts allowed third party abortion interests to challenge the law on the theory they represent the interests of women.  As the brief points out, expanding health and safety requirements for abortionists can be argued to be in the best interests of women:

Plaintiffs’ actual interests were made clear: unfettered access to perform abortions free of any regulation, ostensibly for financial gain. No individual women appeared as plaintiffs to the case.  No women testified that they preferred not to have their abortion providers have admitting privileges or that they preferred abortion providers ignore the FDA-approved use of abortion medications. It defies logic to think women would not have an interest in these things, hence the conflict of interests between the litigant abortion providers and the third-party women right holders.

Judicial Watch urges the Supreme Court to rein in this abuse of the courts for political ends:

Petitioners’ claim of assumed third-party standing would effectively gut both the purpose and application of third-party standing. They would essentially be free to challenge any law that even indirectly touches on abortion simply because they fall into a category of favored litigants. This defeats the purpose of the political process, thwarts the will of the people, and contravenes the role of the Legislature. In every case where litigants like Petitioners have used assumed third-party standing, legislative hearings and debate, public hearings and debate, and political and election exercises have been for naught – completely neutralized by Petitioners’ desire to leapfrog the political process and usurp the courts.

“Abortion interests are abusing the law to try to challenge laws that seek to promote and protect the health of women and their unborn children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Supreme Court should put a stop to the misuse of the courts by interests that seek to overturn laws passed by the people’s representatives.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on March 4, 2020.

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