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AG Nessel Urges Court to Uphold Preliminary Injunction Against Unconstitutional Ohio Abortion Law

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a brief supporting a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion care in Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes. The case involves an Ohio law that criminalizes abortion before viability based on a woman’s reason for seeking abortion, which directly conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade.  

In December 2017, Ohio passed a law criminalizing abortion in certain cases, at all stages of pregnancy, making it inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s decades-long legal standard established in Roe v. Wade. Preterm-Cleveland, a medical facility, challenged the constitutionality of the law and successfully blocked its enforcement, which was set to go into effect in March 2018. The decision was then appealed by Ohio to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld the district court’s preliminary injunction. Ohio sought further review of the decision, petitioning the Sixth Circuit to hear the appeal en banc (before all the judges of a court rather than a panel of judges). In the brief, the coalition restates its support for Preterm-Cleveland and the injunction, arguing that Ohio’s law is incompatible with the precedent set forth by Roe v. Wade. 

“This law is part 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. “Women should have access to abortion services, no matter what state they live in. I will always fight for women’s reproductive rights.” 

Filing this brief is Attorney General Nessel’s latest effort to protect women’s reproductive rights. When Nessel took office in January 2019, she withdrew Michigan from four federal cases that would limit women’s reproductive rights. In April 2019, Nessel filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to affirm unconstitutional a Kentucky law regulating abortion services. Later that month, she filed another brief in support of Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic.  

Joining Nessel in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.