NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James today joined a coalition of 21 Attorneys General in filing a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, supporting Mississippi’s last abortion clinic in Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. The case challenges House Bill 1510, which prohibits doctors from providing abortion services past 15 weeks. The coalition, led by Attorney General Becerra argues that state laws cannot prohibit a woman from her constitutionally protected right to terminate her pregnancy before viability under Roe v. Wade. The amici states argue the banning of abortions after 15 weeks flatly forbids women from exercising their right to choose pre-viability abortion.
“A woman’s right to access safe and effective abortion services is unquestionably protected under the United States Constitution, yet far too often, we see attempts by certain states to undermine this right,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “I will continue to work with other Attorneys General to ensure that women’s health and constitutional rights are protected from extremist laws and ideologies.”
In March 2018, Mississippi enacted House Bill 1510. House Bill 1510 places a ban on abortion services after the 15th week of pregnancy. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, as the sole abortion provider in Mississippi, filed suit challenging the ban and requesting a temporary restraining order. The plaintiffs named as defendants the state officers responsible for overseeing public health. On November 20, 2018, the district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs and issued a permanent injunction. The court held that the proposed state law violated women’s right to due process under the 14th Amendment.
Joining Attorney General James in filing the brief are the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
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