April 15, 2019
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel late Friday joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general to protect women’s rights in filing a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, supporting Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic in Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al.
The case challenges a Mississippi law that prohibits doctors from providing abortion services after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The coalition argues that state laws cannot prohibit a woman from her constitutionally protected right under Roe v. Wade to terminate her pregnancy before viability.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the only abortion services provider in Mississippi – challenged the ban and requested a temporary restraining order. On Nov. 20, 2018, a Mississippi district court granted a summary judgment for the plaintiffs and issued a permanent injunction. The court held that the proposed state law violated a woman’s right to due process under the 14th Amendment. The state subsequently appealed the district court’s decision.
“Make no mistake, this is the beginning of a concerted effort to overturn Roe v. Wade and to take states – including Michigan – back to the dark ages where women were forced to resort to back-alley abortions for fear of criminal prosecution," Nessel said. "We cannot and will not sit idly by. We have an obligation to step up and speak out for the protection of Michigan women and all women."
Joining Attorney General Nessel in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.