OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta continued today, ahead of oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 1, to support challenges to Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) – the ban patently unconstitutional of abortion in Texas. The Attorney General joined 24 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the federal government in United States of America v. State of Texas, et al. and in support of abortion providers in Whole Woman’s Health, et al. against Jackson. In the brief, the coalition asks the court to affirm the district court’s denial of a motion to dismiss a case brought by abortion providers challenging SB 8, to uphold the court’s preliminary injunction to district in the United States case and to refer both cases for further particulars. procedure.
“The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy before viability is not only deeply personal, it is also protected by the United States Constitution,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We will continue to oppose laws like SB 8 because Californians and all Americans should be able to exercise this right wherever they are in this country. If Texas and other states are allowed to ban pre-viability abortion care, health care systems in states like California will be strained and patients in restrictive states will have little or no benefit. options for basic reproductive care. The stakes are high and we will continue to fight to protect reproductive freedom and preserve nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. »
SB 8 prohibits nearly all pre-viability abortions in Texas, even in cases of rape, sexual abuse, and incest, and includes a private enforcement system that allows private bounty hunters to prosecute individuals for having provided or “aiding or abetting” an abortion that violates the law and encourages such prosecution with a $10,000 reward.
In lower courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas asserted that the private enforcement regime precludes federal courts from intervening to enjoin state agents from enforcing SB 8. In the brief today, the coalition urged the Court to reject Texas’ arguments and hold that “where a long-standing precedent clearly and unambiguously excludes a particular policy as unconstitutional, a state cannot be permitted to ignore that precedent by passing an unconstitutional law and shielding it from federal judicial review”.
The effects of SB 8 have been devastating with 80-95% of abortion services that were previously provided in Texas now illegal and unavailable. Since the law went into effect Sept. 1, 2021, most Texans are now required to travel — if they have the time and resources — to states like California to get this safe and common medical procedure.
As today’s brief explains, abortion clinics in New Mexico were booked for weeks just a day after SB 8 went into effect. Patients from Texas make up nearly a third of the total number of abortion patients in the state since Sept. 1.
California has also seen an increase in the number of patients from Texas seeking abortion care, and this increase is only expected to increase if access to safe and legal abortion is prohibited in other states. In the brief, the coalition argues that maintaining bans like Texas’s means that “large areas may be without abortion providers, forcing some patients to travel even farther to receive care, straining health systems in states like ours that continue to provide access to abortion, and leave the many patients without resources to travel simply unable to receive the care they need, to the grave detriment of their health.
Today’s brief explains that forcing a person seeking an abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term can have serious and dangerous consequences, including an increased risk of life-threatening complications such as postpartum hemorrhage and eclampsia. Others may experience physical abuse when they are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy and are in constant contact with an abusive partner. Many people forced to carry pregnancies to term will also experience lower full-time employment rates and other negative socio-economic hardships.
Attorney General Bonta will continue to defend reproductive rights and challenge laws that illegally infringe on reproductive freedom. This month, the attorney general urged the U.S. Supreme Court to restore an injunction barring the execution of SB 8. In September, the attorney general led a multistate amicus brief, filed in court Supreme of the United States Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, regarding Mississippi’s ban on pre-viability abortions. The Court will hear arguments in the case on December 1, 2021. That same month, the Attorney General joined a multi-state coalition to file an amicus brief in Family Planning v. Wilson — a case challenging South Carolina’s unconstitutional ban on abortion. In July, Attorney General Bonta co-led a coalition of state attorneys general in submitting a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supporting their reversal of the state’s 2019 separate abortion billing rule. administration that violated Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act. In May, the attorney general co-led a coalition to voice support and suggest revisions to the HHS proposed rule that overturned the Trump-Pence administration’s harmful Title X rule in 2019. The now-final rule rectified many of the harms done to women by the 2019 rule, including allowing Title X clinics to provide a referral for an abortion, if the patient requests it, and removing the required physical separation between Title X-funded services and abortion care. In April, the Attorney General’s Office joined a coalition by filing an amicus brief challenging Tennessee’s unconstitutional abortion ban. In September, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit blocked the ban.
In filing today’s amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joined the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and District of Columbia.
A copy of the brief is available here.