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The resistance starts now: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights just filed lawsuits in Alaska, Missouri, and North Carolina over dangerous, unconstitutional, medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. The three lawsuits follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down two Texas laws that devastated access to abortion in the state. Since the ruling, abortion restrictions have been blocked in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin — and that’s just the beginning.

We are going to fight back state by state and law by law until every person has the right to pursue the life they want, including the right to decide to end a pregnancy. Individual rights and freedom go to the heart of who we are as a country, including the right to access safe and legal abortion.

These laws are dangerous, unjust, and unconstitutional – and they will come down.

Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley,Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America

As a leading health care provider, Planned Parenthood health centers see firsthand what it means for people who are forced to cross state lines, travel hundreds of miles, or wait weeks to get an abortion (if they can at all). Abortion restrictions have a disproportionate impact on those who already face far too many barriers to health care — such as people of color, people who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes.

About the Lawsuits

"With the cases we are filing today, we are sending a clear message that we won't stop working until every woman can get the care she needs no matter who she is, where she lives, or how much money she makes," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.

Specifically, the lawsuits challenge the following restrictions on safe and legal abortion:

  • Medically unnecessary restrictions in Alaska, passed more than 40 years ago, that ban abortion in outpatient health centers after the first trimester of pregnancy, forcing many women to travel out of state for procedures.

  • Medically unnecessary restrictions in Missouri that have forced nearly all health centers to cease to provide abortion in the state. Only one licensed provider remains.

  • A ban on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy in North Carolina that only permitted access to abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy under an extremely narrow medical emergency exception.

Attorneys from the ACLU, the Center, and PPFA represent the following plaintiffs in each case:

  • Alaska: Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands

  • Missouri: Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

  • North Carolina: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

“Today’s filing is a major step in the fight to ensure all women can get safe and legal abortions in their own communities, when they need them,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

We Can’t Believe We Need to Keep Saying This: Americans Have a Constitutional Right to End a Pregnancy

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that women have a constitutional right to decide whether to end or continue a pregnancy, and that states cannot ban abortion prior to viability. The Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health decision affirmed those rights. It also affirmed that states cannot pass sham restrictions on abortion: Less than one day after issuing the Whole Woman’s Health ruling, the Supreme Court refused to review similar clinic shutdown laws from Mississippi and Wisconsin that imposed an undue burden on women seeking abortions.

Get Updates

The new wave of litigation to protect and expand access to abortion won’t end here. Keep watch at PPaction.org for more to come, and sign up for email alerts.

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Tags: North Carolina, Missouri, Alaska, Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU

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