Attorney General Bonta Co-Leads Amicus Brief Fighting for Texas Patients Put at Risk by Texas’s Cruel Anti-Abortion Laws

Monday, November 13, 2023
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today co-led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in fighting for access to emergency abortion for Texas patients. The multistate coalition filed an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court backing the plaintiffs in Zurawski v. Texas, the first lawsuit brought on behalf of people denied abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include 15 Texas women whose health, fertility, and lives were put at risk by Texas’s draconian anti-abortion laws. In today’s amicus brief, the multistate coalition supported the women’s argument that Texas’s laws endanger the lives and health of pregnant individuals in the state. The coalition further argued that Texas’s laws would also have serious repercussions on the health systems of other states.

“Emergency medical care saves lives: No one should fear being denied the care they need to survive,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Texas’s radical ban on abortion unconscionably endangers the lives and health of pregnant people within the state, including Texas residents and visitors from California and beyond. That’s why today, California and its partners are supporting the plaintiffs who brought the first lawsuit since Roe v. Wade was overturned, seeking to guard access to critical care on behalf of people who faced serious medical complications but were denied abortions needed to protect their health and lives. California will not stand idly by as anti-choice states like Texas trample over the rights and protections that allow people to live healthy, safe lives.”

The lawsuit was originally filed in Texas state court on March 6, and sought to clarify the scope of Texas’s medical emergency exception under its state abortion laws. On August 4, the court issued an order temporarily blocking the application of Texas’s abortion ban in cases of an “emergent medical condition.” Now, Texas is appealing the court’s decision in the Texas Supreme Court. Today’s amicus brief by the multistate coalition backs the plaintiffs’ case, arguing that: 

  • Preventing medical providers from performing abortions needed to treat emergency medical conditions threatens the health and lives of pregnant patients. Many pregnancy and miscarriage complications are emergency medical conditions requiring time-sensitive stabilizing treatment that can include abortion. Any failure to provide, or delays in providing, necessary abortion care can put at risk the pregnant patient’s life or health.
  • When Texas hospitals and providers do not provide the emergency abortion care, patients are forced to turn to out-of-state hospitals and providers, adding strain to other states’ emergency departments that are already struggling with overcrowding, long wait times, and staff shortages. The added strain causes more delays and threatens the safety and health of all patients who need emergency care.

Joining California Attorney General Bonta and New York Attorney General James in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the brief is available here.

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