La. attorneys to offer free legal services to people facing criminal charges under new abortion ban

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, the decision activated Louisiana’s “trigger law”, effectively banning abortions across the state.

On Monday, June 27, the state’s trigger bans on abortion were blocked by a state court.

Following the ruling, a group of Louisiana law firms has decided to offer free legal assistance to anyone that faces criminal charges in the state.

“When this went down, it was, ‘what can we do?’” attorney Ron Haley said.

Haley, attorney David Utter and attorney Chris Murrell will partner with The Fair Fight Initiative (FFI) to offer pro bono services for people facing prosecution.

“I think it gives an umbrella of protection. At the very base level, when you strip it down to everything else, if someone is prosecuted for this law, they know they only have to pick up the phone, call us and we’ll be there,” Haley said.

Attorney General Jeff Landry said he intends to enforce the new law, but some fear this will only hurt a set group of people.

“The people that are going to be the most impacted by this in a very negative way are going to be Black and Brown women who don’t have the means,” Utter said.

That is why Utter said he decided to jump on board.

”I just can’t imagine anything more important,” Utter said.

They believe this is just the beginning of a long legal fight.

”You look at Justice Thomas’ opinion, he indicates that this could possibly open the door for government regulation on contraception or marriage equality. If we don’t nip this in the bud here, we do not know how far down the road it’s going to go,” Haley said. “It’s hard to say, but we’re going to be in for the long haul. This is not a one-month, two-month or three-month ordeal.”

The group held a press conference announcing the new partnership on Tuesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse in Baton Rouge.

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