Attorney General James Fights to Protect Medication Abortion Access and Family Planning Privacy Rights
Multistate Coalition Led by AG James Files Two Briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to Support Americans’ Reproductive Health Care Rights
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James continued her efforts to protect Americans’ basic rights to medication abortion access and to privacy over their family planning decisions. Leading two separate multistate coalitions, Attorney General James filed two amicus briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit arguing that separate decisions issued by the same district court judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas would do serious harm to Americans’ access to the medication abortion drug mifepristone and would curtail important privacy protections over adolescents’ reproductive health care decisions. These amicus briefs are part of Attorney General James’ ongoing fight to protect New Yorkers’ rights, and the rights of all Americans, to privacy, health care options, and medication abortion access.
“We cannot sit idly by as basic rights are being assaulted and stripped away from millions of Americans,” said Attorney General James. “The rulings being made by a single judge in Texas will have devastating effects nationwide unless we stand up and fight back. I am proud that my fellow attorneys general have joined me in urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reject these harmful decisions and instead protect the rights Americans have enjoyed for decades. So long as I am Attorney General of New York, we will continue to lead the fight for abortion rights and reproductive health care privacy for all Americans.”
In the amicus brief filed by Attorney General James and a coalition of 24 attorneys general in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, the coalition argues that the FDA’s determination that the medication abortion drug mifepristone is safe and effective is supported by an overwhelming medical consensus developed over more than two decades of use. The coalition also argues that the FDA’s subsequent regulatory actions, including authorizing the generic version of mifepristone, permitting qualified clinicians other than physicians to authorize its usage, and enabling its distribution by mail, are all backed by solid evidence. The coalition urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reverse the lower court ruling and notes that if it is allowed to stand, it will harm millions of Americans, and historically underserved groups, including women of color, low-income women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals, will be hit the hardest.
In the amicus brief filed by Attorney General James and a coalition of 24 attorneys general in Deanda v. Becerra, the coalition argues that eliminating Title X’s confidentiality protections for adolescents in Texas would have severe and devastating consequences for teenage patients. The Title X program was established in 1970, to provide publicly funded family planning and reproductive medical services on a confidential basis to millions of Americans, including adolescents. The lower court judge’s ruling in this case, however, would threaten the ability of minors in Texas to secure Title X services like contraceptives and family planning services without parental consent. This ruling goes against decades of established practices and could lead to sexually active adolescents forgoing medical care due to a lack of guaranteed confidentiality. In the amicus brief, Attorney General James and the coalition of attorneys general argue that Title X’s confidentiality protections are essential to delivering necessary healthcare to minors safely, and urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reverse the lower court ruling.
This action continues the work Attorney General James has done to protect access to reproductive healthcare and abortion rights. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe v. Wade, Attorney General James launched a pro bono legal hotline to provide legal support to patients and healthcare providers nationwide. Attorney General James has repeatedly led multi-state coalitions in submitting amicus briefs to combat efforts to rollback abortion rights, and to support protecting Americans’ access to safe, legal abortions. During former President Trump’s Administration, Attorney General James challenged attempts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare services, such as the Trump administration's Title X rule and submitted testimony urging passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Attorney General James has helped lead coalitions of attorneys general to defend abortion access in states including: Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Attorney General James has supported state legislation to provide funds to abortion providers in New York and called for an amendment to the state constitution to ensure the right to an abortion.
Joining Attorney General James in filing the amicus brief in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
Joining Attorney General James in filing the amicus brief in Deanda v. Becerra are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
The amicus brief in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA was prepared by Deputy Solicitor General Ester Murdukhayeva and Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood, and the amicus brief in Deanda v. Becerra was prepared by Assistant Solicitor General Elizabeth Brody, Deputy Solicitor General Judith Vale, and Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood — all of the Division of Appeals and Opinions. Both briefs were also prepared by Special Counsel for Reproductive Justice Galen Leigh Sherwin of the Executive Division, which is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.