Last week on the blog, we covered the string of lawsuits being filed by pro-choice lawyers and reproductive care organizations with the aim of keeping abortion care accessible for as long as possible in the wake of ‘trigger bans’ in many states. These lawsuits have continued to develop over the past few days, and this week, bans have been temporarily blocked in Louisiana and Arizona.
Jenny Ma, Center for Reproductive Rights senior staff attorney, said, “This is an incredible relief for people who need abortion care right now in Louisiana. Abortion care in the state can resume today, and further irreparable harm has been avoided. Our work continues and we now look ahead to our hearing on Monday, where we will ask the judge to block the bans more permanently.”
Here are the latest updates from Louisiana, Arizona, and South Carolina.
Louisiana – The Center for Reproductive Rights’ lawsuit in Louisiana argues that the state’s three “trigger” laws are unconstitutionally vague. A hearing, originally scheduled July 8, was moved to July 12, halting abortion care. However, on July 12, a Baton Rouge state court blocked Louisiana’s trigger bans, allowing abortion care to resume until a hearing on July 18 which will discuss longer term relief.
Arizona – On June 25, there was an emergency request to block Arizona’s “personhood laws” as they apply to abortion. These “personhood laws” would grant fetuses, embryos, and fertilized eggs the same “rights and privileges” as “other persons” for purposes of all Arizona law. A hearing on this motion was held July 8, and on July 11, the personhood law was blocked. The “personhood law” is just one of several conflicting laws in Arizona, adding to confusion about whether abortion care services are allowed to resume.
South Carolina – On July 13, a new lawsuit was filed in South Carolina state court, aiming to block the state’s six week abortion ban. The lawsuit argues that the state’s abortion ban violates South Carolinians’ rights to privacy and equal protection, adequate protections for patients’ health, and requiring disclosure of personal information to law enforcement as a condition of abortion access for sexual assault survivors.
South Carolina’s abortion ban came into effect on June 27, after a federal district court granted a request to stay an injunction that had upheld abortion access for over a year following the passing of Senate Bill 1 in 2021 (which the injunction had successfully argued was inconsistent with Roe, before Roe was overturned on June 24).
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic President & CEO Jenny Black said in a statement:
This fight is not new to us, and we know what’s at stake: Without court intervention, South Carolinians will continue to suffer in a state with dangerously high rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality, particularly among Black women and babies. We urgently need this court to reject Senate Bill 1 for what it is: a direct assault on our health care, our lives, and fundamental human rights.”
Read more here: Center for Reproductive Rights
Texas Attorney General Sues Biden Administration Over Department of Health Advice
On Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration, claiming they are “flagrantly disregarding the legislative and democratic process — and flouting the Supreme Court’s ruling before the ink is dry”.
The Department of Health and Human services has advised hospitals, even in states that have outlawed abortion, federal law requires doctors to perform abortions for pregnant women who show up in their emergency departments if they believe it is “the stabilizing treatment necessary” to resolve an emergency medical condition.
Read more here: New York Times
In North Dakota, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, the situation appears to remain as we last reported on July 8th.
Read last week’s blog here.
Not Business As Usual: Thousands Participate in National ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Walkout
On Thursday, July 13th, thousands of employees across the US and internationally participated in Planned Parenthood’s ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ walkout, a day of action to amplify the fight for abortion rights and show support for abortion providers.
Participants walked out of work and shared messages of support on social media in solidarity with abortion providers across the country, demonstrating that the pro-choice movement will not back down.
Lean more here: Planned Parenthood
The List interviews Battleground director Cynthia Lowen on anti-abortion recruitment on college campuses
Battleground challenges many pre-conceived notions about who makes up the anti-abortion movement in the United States. This week, director Cynthia Lowen spoke with The List about the anti-abortion movement’s reach among young people, particularly on college campuses. Lowen said:
“As a filmmaker, it was something that was surprising. I wasn’t expecting when I started this film to see a world of young anti-abortion people who are confronting a lot of those stereotypes or preconceived notions I had about who the anti-abortion movement is.”
Read the full interview here.
Film Threat reviews Battleground
This week, Bradley Gilbert of Film Threat reviewed Battleground, calling the film ‘a timely, illuminating behind-the-scenes look at several women leading the anti-reproductive-rights movement they have named “pro-life.”, and stating that “Lowen does a masterful job of presenting the anti-choice movement without spin.”.
Read the full review here.
Battleground included in IDA Tribeca Roundup
In the International Documentary Association’s coverage of films shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in June, Bedatri D. Choudhury described Battleground as “somewhat of a coup, in the way it gains tremendous access to “pro-life” activists—both Christian and allegedly “atheist, feminist Democrats”—and lays bare their strategies, agenda and beliefs; and yet remains firmly pro-choice.”, and says “it is a strategic film that makes us sit through an access into the “other side” that we probably need to be cognizant of—especially when organizing in the country today”.
Read the full roundup here.
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