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Though the past month has seen the court-ordered demise of Louisiana’s late-term abortion ban and Governor Mike Foster’s policy of random inspections of abortion clinics, the harrowing tale of a young, pregnant woman’s brush with death after being denied a Medicaid-funded abortion has triggered a new federal class action.

Even the most grizzled civil rights lawyers were stunned by the case of Michelle Lee, 27, a Bossier City, La., woman with cardiomyopathy, a debilitating heart ailment. She was refused an abortion last October because of a state hospital policy barring such procedures except for those who, without an abortion, would have less than a 50% chance of survival.

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