Maui News

Hawai’i AG Joins Fight For Abortion Access in Louisiana

December 4, 2019, 12:09 PM HST
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Clare Connors. File photo. 

Attorney General Clare E. Connors announced on Tuesday that she has joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general fighting to ensure women across the nation have access to safe, legal abortions.

In an amicus brief filed with the United States Supreme Court — in support of the petitioners in the case June Medical Services v. Gee — the coalition of attorneys general seek to overturn a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital.    

“Requiring admitting privileges at a local hospital unduly burdens a fundamental constitutional right,” Connors said in a press release.

“All women should have access to safe reproductive health services.”

In 2014, Louisiana passed a law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals.

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If the law were enforced, Louisiana would be left with, at most, two physicians who could provide abortion services in the state.

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Roughly 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year.

Louisiana’s admitting-privileges requirement is identical to the Texas statute that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted a permanent injunction against the Louisiana law. But in 2018, the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision.

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June Medical Services and two physicians appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which granted an emergency application to stay the law from taking effect pending the outcome of the appeal.

The coalition of attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, filed the amicus brief because “states have an interest in ensuring the availability of safe, medically sound abortion services and in protecting the health and safety of women seeking abortion services, as well as defending the long-recognized, substantive due process right to choose to terminate a pregnancy and the undue-burden standard that governs review of regulations implicating that right,” the press release read.

In the brief, the attorneys general argue that Louisiana’s law is an “unnecessary and onerous burden” that fails to promote women’s health and will further limit abortion providers available to women in Louisiana.

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

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