Conservative powerhouse Shirley McVicker Public Affairs is handling media for abortion opposition group Louisiana Right to Life in light of June Medical Services v. Russo, the high-profile Supreme Court case involving the constitutionality of a Louisiana anti-abortion law.
Founded in 1970, Louisiana Right to Life advocates legislation opposing abortion and euthanasia. In 2014, the nonprofit drafted H.B. 388, better known as the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act,” which requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges with a state-authorized hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.
Critics say the bill effectively eliminates legal abortion in the Pelican State, as opponents claim only one doctor who performs abortions in Louisiana currently has admitting privileges. A virtually identical law passed in Texas was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2016.
The Louisiana law, which was introduced by former Democratic LA Rep. (now State Senator) Katrina Jackson, was passed 2014. It was temporary blocked from implementation but later deemed constitutional. The Supreme Court is now reviewing the constitutionality of the law in light of a challenge to a previous Fifth Circuit ruling that allowed it to be enforceable. The high court heard oral arguments in the case on March 4.
According to a report from reproductive health policy group Guttmacher Institute, Louisiana has enacted more abortion-related regulations than any state in the country. Some critics see the June Medical Services v. Russo case as the greatest threat to abortion rights since Roe v. Wade’s passage in 1973.
The case gained wider media attention when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said during a March rally outside the Supreme Court that conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh “will pay the price” and ”won't know what hit” them if the Court’s decision struck down abortion rights.
The court isn’t expected to render a decision in that case until early summer.
The LARTL account is managed by Shirley McVicker Public Affairs partner Kevin McVicker and account executives Bryson Boettger and Mitchell Shirley.
Alexandria, Va.-based SMPA, which was formerly known as Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, has previously publicized major litigation in other high-profile Supreme Court cases, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Azar.
The firm has also spearheaded media coverage and exposure for clients such as firebrand author Ann Coulter, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Citizens for Responsible Solar and the late columnist Robert Novak.