Louisiana's attorney general on Wednesday warned doctors against performing abortions, despite a judge's order blocking the state from enforcing its ban on the procedure.
In a letter to the Louisiana State Medical Society, Attorney General Jeff Landry said that the state judge's Monday order blocking enforcement "has limited reach" and abortion has been a crime since Friday's decision giving states the power to outlaw abortions.
"It is incumbent on this office to advise you that any medical provider who would perform or has performed an elective abortion after the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs is jeopardizing his or her liberty and medical license," Landry wrote, referencing the Friday decision.
His spokesman did not immediately respond to a message asking whether Landry's office would seek to prosecute doctors who perform abortions while the judge's order is in effect.
The three abortion clinics in the state have said they would resume operations while the order is in effect. It was not immediately clear whether that decision would be affected by Landry's letter.
Louisiana law has "trigger" language that was designed to ban abortion, with few exceptions, in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling ending abortion rights.
State District Judge Robin Giarrusso in New Orleans on Monday issued a temporary restraining order banning enforcement, pending a court hearing on a lawsuit filed by a north Louisiana abortion clinic and others. Landry's office has not said when or where it would appeal that order.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit don't deny that the state can now ban abortion. Instead, they contend Louisiana now has multiple, conflicting trigger mechanisms in the law.
They also argue that state law is unclear on whether it bans an abortion prior to a fertilized egg implanting in the uterus.
Although the law provides an exception for "medically futile" pregnancies in cases of fetuses with lethal abnormalities, the plaintiffs noted the law gives no definition of the term and state health officials haven't yet provided a list of conditions that would qualify as medically futile.
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