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AG Nessel Joins Amicus Brief Fighting for Patients Put at Risk by Anti-Abortion Laws in Texas
November 14, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief fighting for access to emergency abortion for Texas patients in Zurawski v. Texas, the first lawsuit brought on behalf of people denied abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include 15 Texas women whose health, fertility, and lives were put at risk by Texas’ draconian anti-abortion laws. The multistate coalition supports the women’s argument that Texas’ laws endanger the lives and health of pregnant individuals in the state and would also have serious repercussions on the health systems of other states.
“Delaying or denying emergency abortion care when needed presents a grave risk to patients,” Nessel said. “Forcing doctors to alter the care they provide to pregnant women because Texas refuses to clarify the exemptions in its abortion law creates unnecessary confusion in urgent medical treatment. I stand firmly with my colleagues in supporting the state district court’s ruling protecting Texas residents’ right to time-sensitive medical care.”
The lawsuit was originally filed in Texas state district court on March 6, and sought to clarify the scope of Texas’s medical emergency exception under its state abortion laws. On August 4, the court issued an order temporarily blocking the application of Texas’s abortion ban in cases of an “emergent medical condition.” Texas has now appealed the court’s decision to the Texas Supreme Court. The amicus brief by the multistate coalition backs the plaintiffs’ case, arguing that:
- Preventing medical providers from performing abortions needed to treat emergency medical conditions threatens the health and lives of pregnant patients. Many pregnancy and miscarriage complications are emergency medical conditions requiring time-sensitive stabilizing treatment, which can include abortion. Any failure to provide, or delays in providing, necessary abortion care can put the pregnant patient’s life or health at risk.
- When Texas hospitals and providers do not provide the emergency abortion care needed, patients are forced to turn to out-of-state hospitals and providers, adding strain to other states’ emergency departments that are already struggling with overcrowding, long wait times, and staff shortages. The added strain causes more delays and threatens the safety and health of all patients who need emergency care.
In filing the amicus brief, AG Nessel joined the attorneys general of California, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.