Updated May 15, 2018: Another attorney general takes a stand! Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced today he won't defend the state's new six-week abortion ban, considered the most extreme anti-abortion restriction in the country. According to his office, Miller chose to disqualify himself from defending the law "because of his core belief that the statute, if upheld, would undermine rights and protections for women."
We commend Miller for standing up for a woman's right to control her own body and decide for herself whether and when to become a parent.
As you read this, the House, Senate, and White House are crawling with lawmakers who want to roll back our reproductive rights. Luckily, many of the country’s attorneys general are taking action. As the first line of defense in the states, these officials have the power to fight back against state law violations — and they’re doing just that.
To date, more than a dozen attorneys general in states across the country have called out harmful measures that interfere with our bodies and our lives. Here’s how they’re teaming up with one another to protect health care access and hold our federal government accountable.
They’re helping to lead the charge against discrimination in health care
Earlier this year, the Trump-Pence administration proposed a measure to empower medical workers to deny people access to health care services — including abortion, birth control, and HIV treatment — based on the worker’s personal beliefs. These so-called “refusal laws” mean communities that already face discrimination when accessing health care — like LGBTQ people, women, and people of color — could face even more barriers.
Attorneys general aren’t having it. A team of 20 attorney generals is leading opposition to the discriminatory measure.
Strangers’ beliefs should not dictate whether you are able to receive the health care you need and want.— Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Source: Windy City Times
Donald Trump is proposing a ‘license to discriminate’ for health care and insurance companies against LGBTQ Americans, but our coalition of attorneys general will fight to kill this outrageous rule.—New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas
Source: KRWG News
They’re suing Trump for harmful changes to the census
The Trump-Pence administration recently announced that the United States Census will ask people about their citizenship status. The change will hurt immigrants and communities of color, likely resulting in an undercount of many immigrant communities.
The census helps ensure that federal tax dollars are sent where they’re needed based on how many people live in a certain community. But certain populations — particularly communities of color, families with young children, some Indigenous populations, families with low incomes, and immigrant families — have historically been underrepresented in census data. Adding additional barriers and exacerbating the undercount of immigrant communities would likely reduce funding support for health care services for those who need it most.
Once again, attorneys general are stepping up to the plate. Attorneys generals from a dozen states — including New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington — are suing against this plan, which already faces strong opposition from a bipartisan group of former U.S. Census Bureau directors.
They’re defending access to safe, legal abortion
Amid rampant attacks on reproductive rights, 16 attorneys general recently filed an amicus brief — a common legal document offering expertise — to express their support of safe, legal abortion. The effort helps challenge a dangerous Texas abortion ban that would criminalize health care providers who perform abortions after the second trimester — despite the fact that these are safe and common. The amicus brief was supported by attorneys general of New Jersey, Oregon, and more.
They’re fighting manipulative attempts to prevent people from accessing abortion care
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading the charge on a Supreme Court case that will determine whether fake women’s health clinics that work to deceive pregnant women must provide medically accurate and unbiased information on health services, including safe, legal abortion.
These fake women’s health clinics appear to be health providers, and are often located near Planned Parenthood health centers. But they exist to mislead women and force them out of seeking safe, legal abortion. Their staff are not required to have any formal medical training, and their tactics are based in shame and fear — not fact or science. “Information is power, and all women should have access to the information they need when making personal healthcare decisions,” Becerra said in a statement.
They’re fighting against new attacks on the Affordable Care Act
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more women than ever have been able to access affordable, quality health care. Nearly seven million women gained health insurance coverage through the ACA, and the legislation has helped lead to historic lows for both unintended pregnancy and pregnancy among teens. And yet, anti-women’s health politicians are set on attacking the ACA. The new battleground? The states.
Following Congress’s repeated unsuccessful attempts to repeal the ACA, a group of anti-women’s health attorneys general are focusing their attention on using federal lawsuits to dismantle the ACA. Sixteen attorneys general in states from Vermont to North Carolina are fighting back against a federal lawsuit filed in Texas that threatens to dismantle the ACA.
"Typically, it's the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice to defend federal laws like the ACA from constitutional attack," said New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. "But unfortunately — given everything going on in Washington these days — it's clear that New Jersey and other like-minded states need to step up to protect the law from yet another meritless legal challenge."