Attorney General Becerra Takes Action to Defend Women’s Constitutional Reproductive Rights

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
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AG Becerra submits two amicus briefs opposing Ohio laws that seek to undermine women’s rights

SACRAMENTO – Leading a coalition of 18 Attorneys General, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted an amicus brief supporting a woman’s constitutional reproductive rights in Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes. Separately, Attorney General Becerra also joined a coalition of 18 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief supporting women’s health in Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio et al v. Hodges.

“Earlier this year, our nation celebrated the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which guarantees women the right to make their own healthcare decisions about their own bodies. Today, we honor that tradition by standing up for women’s reproductive freedom and the rule of law,” said Attorney General Becerra. “With the power of the Constitution and commonsense behind us, we will do everything necessary to protect women’s reproductive rights.”

Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes: In December 2017, the State of Ohio passed a law that aimed to criminalize abortions in certain cases, at all stages of pregnancy, making it inconsistent with the Supreme Court's decades-long legal standard. In February 2018, Preterm-Cleveland, a medical facility, challenged the constitutionality of the law and successfully blocked its enforcement, which was set to go into effect in March 2018. The decision is now being appealed by Ohio to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In our brief, the coalition defends the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade that protects a women's legal right to reproductive autonomy.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio et al v. Hodges: In 2016, the State of Ohio passed a law that would prohibit qualified healthcare providers that offer abortion services, in addition to other women’s health services, from participating in publicly-funded health programs – including breast and cervical cancer prevention and Violence Against Women Act programs. In April 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a permanent injunction obtained by Planned Parenthood, finding that the Ohio law violated the due process and First Amendment rights of the plaintiff, Planned Parenthood affiliates. On May 2, 2018, the State of Ohio challenged the permanent injunction and was later granted a rehearing. In today’s filing, the Attorneys General argue that the Ohio law violates the First Amendment and Due Process Clause because the law imposes an unconstitutional condition on state grants that infringes on the right to free speech.

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