AG James Fights To Ensure Abortions Remain Safe And Legal

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her enduring fight for women’s reproductive freedom by arguing that every state should provide women with the ability to obtain a safe and legal abortion. Along with a coalition of 20 additional attorneys general from around the nation, Attorney General James today filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. in support of Mississippi’s last abortion clinic — Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“More than 45 years ago, Roe v. Wade made it crystal clear that women hold the right to have safe, legal abortions, and despite multiple states’ attempts to roll back the clock and control women’s’ bodies, we will never stop fighting,” said Attorney General James. “Mississippi is just one of 10 states that has tried, this year alone, to skirt the Supreme Court and push its beliefs on its residents. No person, no business, and absolutely no government entity has the right to deny or limit a woman’s access to an abortion, which is why my office will continue to use every legal tool at its disposal to prioritize the reproductive rights of women.”

In the brief, the attorneys general argue that Mississippi’s law, S.B. 2116, limits the period that an abortion could be performed to a narrow window of just six weeks — when many women do not even know they are pregnant. The coalition asserts that this law restricts women from exercising their full constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Further, the coalition asserts that, contrary to Mississippi’s claims, this near-total ban would result in dire maternal health outcomes.

The coalition goes on to make the point that limiting or eliminating women’s access to safe and legal abortions leads to alarming health and socioeconomic outcomes, including forcing women to endure negative pregnancy side effects, the limitation of physical activity, restriction from full-time employment, and increased reliance on publicly funded safety-net programs.

Today’s amicus brief is just the latest in Attorney General James’ long history of fighting for women’s reproductive health freedom. Less than a month ago, Attorney General James led a coalition of 19 attorneys general from across the nation in filing an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, challenging a Kentucky state law that would ban physicians from providing second-trimester abortion services using the most common and safest procedure available for women after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Also last month, Attorney General James sent a letter to the Trump Administration urging them to immediately comply with the court-ordered injunction in California v. Azar. The injunction halted the Trump Administration’s attempt to strip access to cost-free birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Despite the clear injunction from the court, the Trump Administration has not yet updated several websites to inform the public about the injunction and its impact on their contraceptive coverage.

And in August, Attorney General James fought to support women’s access to safe reproductive health care by filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) against the State of Indiana after the state denied WWHA’s application for a license to open an abortion clinic that would provide medical abortions in South Bend.

Additionally, the New York Attorney General’s Office is currently appealing a decision in People ex rel. James v. Griepp to ensure women

who enter the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens are not harassed, obstructed, or threatened by protesters.

Joining Attorney General James in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.