Attorney General Becerra Leads Multistate Brief Challenging Restrictive Abortion Laws

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul today led a multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the constitutionality of several recently enacted abortion bans in Missouri in Reproductive Health Services v. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, which provides the only remaining abortion services in Missouri, and its Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colleen McNicholas, are seeking to overturn two state laws that would significantly curtail women’s rights and create barriers to safe and legal abortion. The multistate coalition argues that these laws are unconstitutional restrictions on women’s right to choose.

“No government, state or federal, has the right to make personal decisions for a woman about her body or her healthcare,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Missouri’s anti-choice laws are blatantly unconstitutional and leave women in Missouri with no option within the state for safe, legal abortion care. We will continue to stand with women and the Constitution to protect their access to comprehensive healthcare.”

Missouri recently enacted a number of anti-choice laws meant to deny women access to abortion care in the state. These unconstitutional measures include a so-called “Reason Ban” and several “Gestational Age Bans” that make it a felony for physicians to perform abortions at or after 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks—before the stage of viability recognized by the Supreme Court and in some cases before women would even know they were pregnant. The passage of these laws sparked outrage as they are blatant attempts to undermine Roe v. Wade

In August 2019, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis secured a preliminary injunction in the district court halting Missouri’s attempt to criminalize performing abortions. After the State of Missouri appealed the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the district court issued an additional order prohibiting the state from enforcing the so-called “Reason Ban,” which was later appealed by Missouri. The California-Illinois-led coalition argues that the law is unconstitutional, does not promote women’s healthcare, and denies women access to safe, legal abortions.  

Today’s brief is Attorney General Becerra’s latest effort in the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights:

  • On January 7, 2020, Attorney General Becerra led a multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief in support of  a lawsuit challenging four restrictive Arkansas laws;
  • On December 3, 2019, Attorney General Becerra joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting a constitutional challenge to a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to maintain hospital admitting privileges;
  • On October 4, 2019, Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief challenging Mississippi’s near-total ban on abortion in Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al.;
  • On April 12, 2019, Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi; and
  • On September 4, 2018, Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief challenging an anti-choice law in Ohio in the case Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in today’s filing are the attorneys general of Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is available here

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