Over 200 Republican Congress members are calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 landmark abortion ruling decision, Roe vs. Wade, which afforded the nationwide legal right to abortion, 410 U.S. 113, before the Louisiana abortion case hearings that would be held in March.

In an amicus brief, 207 members of Congress – 39 Senators and 168 members of the House Representatives – called on the Supreme Court to reevaluate current Louisiana legislation, which prohibits access to the procedure.

Congressional representatives from 38 different states challenged a 2014 Louisiana state bill, which was passed but never enacted to become official legislation, in the case of June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Gee, stating that free access to safe abortion procedures is a constitutional right.

The bill requires that doctors meet a certain precise medical threshold, in which the conditions are almost impossible to satisfy. The operating physician would have to possess admitting privileges at a local hospital within a 30-mile radius of the procedure’s location.

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As of 2019, only one Louisiana doctor had successfully met the conditions to perform the procedure at a hospital within a 30-mile radius. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the state from enforcing the law in early February by a vote of 5-4. Enactment of the bill would leave Louisiana with only one legally-qualified doctor to perform abortion procedures. The highest court placed a hold on the law, stating that the current restrictions can not be carried out. Three abortion clinics in Louisiana will remain open.

In 2017, a federal district officially froze the law. The 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals backed the law in 2018. The Circuit Court argued that the law did not impose an undue burden on the constitutional right.

The imposition of an undue burden had served as the court’s balancing test. To determine the legality of abortion law, the court estimates the percentage gap between the burdens the law imposes on a woman’s access to abortion and the benefits realized from the resulting legislation.

Two Louisiana doctors have filed a suit arguing that the bill bore an uncanny resemblance to the Texan law proposition that the Supreme Court overturned in 2016.

In the 2016 Texan legislation, the highest court determined that the state of Texas inflicted an unnecessary obstacle on women seeking the procedure while simultaneously failing to provide them with any degree of a medical benefit or variation of one whatsoever. The Texan and Louisiana laws presented an undue burden on the entity who sought out an abortion with no realized concrete benefit.

“The Supreme Court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women,” said Nancy Northup, President and C.E.O. of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The three clinics left in Louisiana can stay open while we ask the Supreme Court to hear our case. This should be an easy case — all that’s needed is a straightforward application of the court’s own precedent.”

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