The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that women’s groups said would leave only a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions in the state.
By a 5-4 vote, the court said the restrictions must remain on hold while challengers appeal a lower court decision in favor of the law. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the court’s liberal members.
It was the Supreme Court’s first significant action on the hot-button issue of abortion since Donald Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, replaced Anthony Kennedy, who generally voted with the court’s liberals to uphold abortion rights.
In Thursday’s ruling, Kavanaugh voted with the conservatives — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch.
Kavanaugh filed a dissent, writing only for himself. He said he would have allowed the law to take effect in order to see whether it would impose a burden on women’s access to abortion in the state.