Attorney General Frey Joins Coalition Fighting to Ensure Women Across the Nation Retain Access to Safe, Legal Abortions

December 3, 2019

AUGUSTA - Attorney General Aaron M. Frey today announced he has joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general fighting to ensure women across the nation are able to maintain access to safe, legal abortions. In an amicus brief filed with the United States Supreme Court - in support of the petitioners in the case June Medical Services v. Gee the coalition of attorneys general seek to overturn a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

"The Louisiana law is designed for only one purpose: to prevent individuals from accessing safe and legal abortion services," said Frey. Similar laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court in the past because of the undue burden they place on patients, and this law must be struck down, too.

In 2014, Louisiana passed a law that requires abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. If the law were enforced, Louisiana would be left with, at most, two physicians who could provide abortion services in the state, despite the fact that roughly 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year. Louisiana's admitting-privileges requirement is identical to the Texas statute that was invalidated and found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Whole Womans Health v. Hellerstedt. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted a permanent injunction against the Louisiana law, but, in 2018, the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision. June Medical Services and two physicians appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which granted an emergency application to stay the law from taking effect pending the outcome of the appeal.

The coalition of attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, filed the amicus brief because states have an interest in ensuring the availability of safe, medically sound abortion services and in protecting the health and safety of women seeking abortion services, as well as defending the long-recognized, substantive due process right to choose to terminate a pregnancy and the undue-burden standard that governs review of regulations implicating that right. In the brief, the attorneys general argue that Louisianas law is an unnecessary and onerous burden that fails to promote womens health and will end up further limiting the number of abortion providers available to women in Louisiana.

Attorney General Frey joins the attorneys general of New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia in filing the amicus brief.

Supporting documents

Amicus Brief