Judge allows Shreveport abortion clinic to reopen

Published 11:32 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Shreveport clinic that provides abortions will be allowed to reopen after a judge on Tuesday overturned a state closure order issued after inspectors said they found health and safety concerns there.

District Judge R. Michael Caldwell issued an order temporarily lifting suspension of the license for Hope Medical Group for Women.

‘‘We are extremely pleased that Hope can reopen its doors,’’ said Janet Crepps, deputy director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. ‘‘Hope has provided abortions in Shreveport for over 30 years with an excellent safety record and that commitment to good service has not wavered. The shutdown of the clinic did not protect the women in the area, it deprived them of an essential health service.’’

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The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suspended the clinic’s license Sept. 3, citing health and safety concerns. The closure was the first time the state had used a new Louisiana law, signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, to shut down a clinic for those reasons. Previously, abortion clinics could continue to operate while appealing a license suspension.

‘‘We are very disappointed that the judge would put the special interests of this abortion facility over the health and safety of women,’’ said Bruce D. Greenstein, secretary of DHH. ‘‘This order was signed without any notification to us and without any effort to hear from medical professionals about the risk to the facility’s clients posed by the violations our inspectors found. We will continue to fight to protect Louisiana residents and to shut down activities that put women in harm.’’

Crepps’ statement said the court’s order stated that, there was ‘‘good legal cause’’ for granting the temporary restraining order and that Hope Medical had made a preliminary showing of irreparable harm.

A hearing on whether the clinic will be allowed to remain open while it fights the suspension will be held Sept. 21.