Maui News

Hawaiʻi AG Backs Brief Challenging Missouri Abortion Laws

January 28, 2020, 4:41 PM HST
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Clare Connors. Courtesy photo.

Hawaiʻi Attorney General Clare E. Connors today joined a multi-state coalition led by California and Illinois in filing an amicus brief to dispute the constitutionality of several recently enacted abortion bans in Missouri.

The brief, Reproductive Health Services v. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, was filed in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that these laws are unconstitutional restrictions on womenʻs right to choose.

Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, the only remaining abortion clinic in Missouri, and its Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colleen McNicholas, are seeking to overturn two state laws that would significantly curtail women’s rights and creates barriers to safe and legal abortion.

“The law is plainly unconstitutional and would put the health and wellbeing of women at risk by denying access to healthcare,” Connors said in a press release.

“Because any attack on reproductive freedom is dangerous, we are committed to protecting women’s rights throughout the country.”

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According to the press release, Missouri recently enacted a number of anti-choice laws meant to deny women access to abortion care in the state.

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Missouri passed several laws, including “Reason Ban” and several “Gestational Age Bans” that make it a felony for physicians to perform abortions at or after 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks—before the stage of viability recognized by the Supreme Court and in some cases before women would even know they were pregnant.

In August 2019, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis secured a preliminary injunction in the district court halting Missouri’s attempt to criminalize performing abortions. After the State of Missouri appealed the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the district court issued an additional order prohibiting the state from enforcing the so-called “Reason Ban,” which was later appealed by Missouri.

The California-Illinois-led coalition argues that the law is unconstitutional, does not promote women’s healthcare, and denies women access to safe, legal abortions.

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Joining today’s filing are the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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