NEW ORLEANS — After lawyers challenged a Louisiana abortion law and won, they demanded the state pay it $4.7 million.
That money will have to wait.
A federal judge said he will not consider fees for the lawyers until the state’s appeal of the abortion law is heard.
State attorneys argue that the clinic lawyers should get nothing if they win their appeal.
Attorneys for the state say that if they win their appeal, the clinics' lawyers won't be due anything.
At the center of the controversy is a law that would require doctors who perform abortions to get permission to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. The law has never been enforced.
But in April, U.S. District Judge John deGravelles ruled the law was unconstitutional, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on a similar Texas law.
"Louisiana politicians’ hostility to women’s health and rights wastes taxpayer dollars,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “Rather than investing in policies which improve women’s lives, Louisiana politicians are throwing away taxpayers' hard-earned money defending a harmful and unconstitutional measure. Louisiana women deserve better."
Louisiana’s clinic shutdown law was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in June 2014.
After the supreme court struck down the Texas law, laws in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio and Mississippi also got blocked.
“The Center for Reproductive Rights vows to stand with Louisiana women and continue the legal battle against this sham law,” Northup said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, the Center for Reproductive Rights would get about $2 million of the legal fees, including $1.1 million for its attorney. The Washington law firm of Morrison and Foerster would get $2.5 million in legal fees and $170,800 in expenses.
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