The ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood Have Leveled a Coordinated Legal Strike on Restrictive Abortion Laws in Three States

A great deal of national attention recently has been drawn to abortion rights — and justifiably so. The president-elect has vowed to nominate justices committed to overturning Roe v. Wade. And yesterday he nominated Rep. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price is a man who at every opportunity has voted to take away people’s access to health care, to deny women the right to have an abortion, to cut off access to contraception, and to defund Planned Parenthood.

But while we worry about the future of abortion rights at the federal level, far too many women  wake up in states where their right to abortion remains so inaccessible that the right is more theoretical than real. And that is because of state laws like those we are challenging today which are expressly designed to prevent a woman who has decided to have an abortion from actually getting one.

Today the ACLU has joined forces with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood in a new wave of lawsuits to protect and expand access to abortion.  Together, we simultaneously filed three challenges to medically unnecessary abortion restrictions in Alaska, Missouri, and North Carolina.

Women have a constitutional right to decide whether to end or continue a pregnancy, and the Supreme Court has consistently upheld this right. Just this summer — in their landmark decision striking down Texas’ abortion restrictions that closed clinics across the state — the court reaffirmed that laws that impose a burden on women’s access to abortion must be balanced by some medical benefit. Since the ruling, abortion restrictions in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma and Wisconsin have already been struck down or been permanently blocked. 

The law is clear: States cannot ban abortion.

But laws in Missouri and Alaska impose burdens on health care centers, reminiscent of the restrictions struck down by the Supreme Court.  Missouri regulations require facilities providing abortions to be outfitted like mini-hospitals. Because of the regulations, only one licensed provider remains to serve over one million women in  the state.

Meanwhile, regulations in Alaska require clinics to be equipped and staffed for “major” surgery. The requirement is so vague and confusing that the people who are subject to these requirements have no way to know what kinds of actions would violate them.

Other regulations in Alaska that date back 40 years prevent health centers from providing abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy. For many Alaskan women, that means traveling out of state to access the care they need. 

In North Carolina, an unconstitutional law that we challenged today bans abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy with exceptions only for extremely narrow medical emergencies.. By doing so, the law forces physicians to delay from caring for women until their condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The law is a threat to the dignity and health of women who seek care, not rejection, from medical professionals.

We filed today’s lawsuits to send a clear message: From Alaska to North Carolina — and every state in between — we will continue to fight until every woman has the dignity to make decisions about her body, her family, and her future. Our bodies, our rights, and our clinics are not going anywhere.  

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Anonymous

The derogatory name for the American Civil Liberties Union tells me that you have a real negative take on our constitutional rights. Someday you may need them, sucker!

Anonymous

A fetus is not a baby. It cannot live by itself or dies. It is a personal choice of many moral people (for many different reasons) to abort or else to support the fetus to birth.

Barbara

You are against the right for a woman to obtain a safe and legal abortion, but are you pro life or pro birth? Are you supportive in having your taxes pay for contraception, affordable day care, head start funding, pre natal care, nutritious food programs and the like? If you say no, then you do not care for the life of a child, and therefore are NOT pro life. Living children are "growing children" and they have a right to grow and thrive.

Anonymous

We could use some help in Texas right about now where fetal remains must be buried or cremated effective December 19.

Anonymous

Those are Gods Children with souls just like you, not fetal remains

MK Austin, PA, MPH

This adds a financial and emotional burden that is designed to discourage women from accessing their constitutional right to determine the most appropriate path for her pregnancy (which she did NOT create alone!). Even Saints and other holy people did not have formal burials ... and I'm quite sure their souls are in a holy place, shining divinely.
Misogyny is not a family value ... women deserve the respect of self-determination. Thank you.

Anonymous

The idea that these are "souls" is an opinion based on religion. If you don't want an abortion because of your religious beliefs, you have that right. Just don't cram it down the throats of the rest of us. We don't agree with you!!!

SparkDogg

In response to:

Anonymous
Those are Gods Children with souls just like you, not fetal remains
DECEMBER 1, 20168:49 PM

If you were born in a Brazilian rain forest do you believe you'd be talking about Gods Children and their souls? Your beliefs are not your own. They are made up from the environment you grew up in. Step out of shoes and try to see the world from different perspectives. It may enlighten your life.

Jose_X

The Bible doesn't say a fetus has a soul. Jesus spoke about caring for the living and making sacrifices for the living but nothing about souls. Adam was given a soul after he was a fully formed man. Jesus even spoke of the barren womb being blessed because of difficult times to come. On the other hand, the Bible does warn against not providing for your family, so if you deny a woman the ability to abort a fetus she cannot take care of properly, you are contributing to her sin. The Bible is harsh on those who facilitate others to sin. [per the Bible]

Bible is religion. The founding fathers made sure this nation was based on no religion, so you can't make any claim that a fetus is a human if our best non-religious understanding of life, science, doesn't support that claim.

Ellen Bowles

Where can we call or send a message in support of the Missouri lawsuit?

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