Attorney General Becerra Urges Court to Uphold Preliminary Injunction against Unconstitutional Ohio Abortion Law

Thursday, February 20, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief in support of a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion care in Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes. The case involves an Ohio law that criminalizes abortion before viability based on a woman’s reason for seeking abortion, running in direct conflict with the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade. The amicus brief reaffirms the coalition’s previous support for Preterm-Cleveland and argues that the preliminary injunction issued by the Sixth Circuit Court should again be upheld by the en banc panel.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, and nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court affirmed women’s autonomy over their healthcare decisions in Roe v. Wade,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Ohio’s law takes our nation backwards and could erase decades of hard-fought victories. We stand with women across America in this fight to protect their constitutional right to reproductive freedom.”

In December 2017, Ohio passed a law to criminalize abortion in certain cases, at all stages of pregnancy, making it inconsistent with the Supreme Court's decades-long legal standard put forward in Roe v. Wade. 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 was then appealed by Ohio to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld the District Court’s preliminary injunction. Ohio sought further review of the decision, petitioning the Sixth Circuit to hear the appeal en banc. In the brief submitted today, the coalition restates its support for the injunction and argues that Ohio’s law is incompatible with the law and Supreme Court precedent.

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

  • On January 30, 2020, Attorney General Becerra co-led a coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s unlawful reinterpretation of Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring separate payments for healthcare and abortion coverage;
  • On January 28, 2020, Attorney General Becerra co-led a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of several recently enacted abortion bans in Missouri in Reproductive Health Services v. Planned Parenthood;
  • On January 24, 2020, Attorney General Becerra issued a statement rebuking the Trump Administration’s baseless allegations that California law violates the Weldon Amendment, a federal appropriations rider that restricts abortion;
  • 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;
  • Since March 4, 2019, Attorney General Becerra has been leading a lawsuit fighting against the Trump Administration’s Title X Final Rule that undermines the nation’s only federal family planning program; and
  • On January 13, 2019, Attorney General Becerra secured a second injunction against the Trump Administration’s harmful rules that would do away with the ACA’s birth control mandate.

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

A copy of the brief is available here.

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