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Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands v. State of Alaska

Status: Ongoing
Last Update: November 30, 2016

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, filed suit to challenge Alaska restrictions which effectively ban health centers from providing abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy.

The suit, filed in state court, challenges the constitutionality of regulations on clinics that provide abortion. One restriction requires facilities to have a blood supply on-hand — a requirement that lacks any clear medical justification, especially given the fact that abortion is a very safe procedure.

Another regulation under challenge requires clinics to be equipped and staffed for “major” surgery; a requirement that is not only vague but similar to Texas restrictions struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case earlier this year.

Together, the laws make it impossible for clinics to provide abortion care after the first trimester of pregnancy. Alaska women, who need an abortion after the first trimester, must fly out of state to actually get one. The restrictions have a particularly harsh effect on low-income women, who may have to secure childcare, miss work, and lose wages to access the care that they need. Some women are not be able to make the journey to another state for health care, and are forced to carry their pregnancies to term.

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