Enabling advanced practice clinicians in Alaska to provide medication abortion
In a strongly worded opinion, the Superior Court in Alaska granted Legal Voice’s request for a preliminary injunction to enable advanced practice clinicians to provide medication abortion, concluding that:
“Planned Parenthood has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its claim that prohibiting advance practice clinicians from providing medication abortion violates patients’ right to privacy under the Alaska Constitution by significantly restricting the availability of abortions in this state without sufficient justification. The law also likely violates patients’ right to equal protection, since it prevents patients eking abortions from receiving care from advance practice clinicians that patients experiencing miscarriage may receive from the same providers.”
Legal Voice has partnered with Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i. Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky (PPGNHAIK) in challenging Alaska’s “physician-only” law. More information on the case can be found here.
Filing amicus briefs in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health demanding meaningful access to abortion
Gender Justice’s brief makes the case that there is no practical difference between a fifteen-week abortion ban and a total abortion ban, and focuses on the barriers clients of abortion funds and practical support organizations face in accessing care before 15 weeks of pregnancy, forcing many of them to have abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy despite trying to access abortion earlier.
Legal Voice’s brief focuses on the very real threat that this abortion ban would pose to survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV)—especially to survivors from Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color (BIPOC).
Mobilizing to protect abortion access in response to TX Senate Bill 8
See Gender Justice’s SCOTUS Chat: Texas Abortion Ban Goes to the Supreme Court on Facebook, where Erin Maye Quade and Jess Braverman unpack the arguments at November’s hearing about SB8.
Read SWLC’s official statement on Texas Senate Bill 8.
Gender Justice and allies organized a Bans Off Our Bodies march and rally, joining thousands of Minnesotans on behalf of reproductive freedom. The events were part of a national day of action to show decision makers in Minnesota that they demand reproductive rights, freedom, and justice.
“With the Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in a new Texas law banning abortion, the Court has sent a clear message: We cannot rely on them to protect our rights.Now is the time to fight harder than ever to protect and expand abortion access in Minnesota.”
Women’s Law Project also joined allies in hosting their own regional Bans Off Our Body march.
See below for some samples of press coverage highlighting Alliance org leadership in response to the SCOTUS ruling, including op-eds from GJ and WLP.
- Minnesota Reformer: Opinion – Minnesota must prepare for its role in a post-Roe world
- Philadelphia Inquirer: Opinion – Opinion – A governor’s veto pen is the only thing standing between Pa. and Texas-style abortion laws
- Star Tribune: Abortion rights supporters say Minnesota shouldn’t take its protections for granted
- The Morning Call: Texas-like abortion restriction law seen as ‘terrible sign of things to come’ or ‘necessary to save lives’ in Pennsylvania
- Star Tribune: Minnesota braces for influx of out-of-state abortion patients
- Spotlight PA: What Texas’ New Abortion Law Means For Pennsylvania
- Mac Weekly: Macalester students stand up for reproductive freedom
- CBS Pittsburgh: Texas Abortion Law Has Ramifications In Upcoming Pennsylvania Elections, Both Sides Say
- Star Tribune: DFL state lawmakers form new Reproductive Freedom Caucus
- KTOE: Opponents rally at MN Capitol against Texas abortion ban
Bringing Medicaid abortion ban case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
A group of Pennsylvania-based abortion providers represented by attorneys from the Women’s Law Project; law professor David S. Cohen; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and a private law firm filed their opening brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, asking the Court to strike down the Pennsylvania ban on Medicaid coverage for abortion.
“This case seeks to restore equitable health care coverage that was lost due to discriminatory political interference from the state,” says WLP staff attorney Christine Castro. “The lawmakers who advanced this ban into law clearly declared that, if it was legal, they would’ve forced all Pennsylvania women to carry pregnancies against their will. Instead, they targeted women in poverty, which disproportionately harms Black women, immigrants, and people of color. The ban is cruel, and it’s also unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
Challenging Idaho’s “Physician’s Only” Law
In December 2018, Legal Voice, along with Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, filed suit against Idaho challenging the law that prohibits qualified advanced practiced clinicians (APC’s) from providing abortion care.
State defendants have attempted to dismiss Legal Voice’s suit twice; first in 2019 which the court rejected, and most recently by trying to use the SCOTUS decision in June Medical v. Russo to overturn the court’s prior decision.
On September 30th, the Court issued a powerful decision resoundingly rejecting the state’s arguments. Far from throwing the case out, the Court found based on all the evidence, that a reasonable fact finder could conclude that the statute does nothing to advance patient safety; nor does it permissibly advance the State’s “asserted interest in potential life.”
Read more about the case here.
Preventing anti-abortion extremists from harassing patients outside of Planned Parenthood
In June of 2020, Legal Voice and the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, filed a complaint on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho against “The Church at Planned Parenthood” (TCAPP)—a group of armed, anti-abortion extremists who were harassing patients outside of the Spokane Health Center. For over two years, TCAPP was breaking both state and local laws while police officers stood by and refused to hold them accountable. Their behavior significantly interfered with Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide quality health and reproductive health care to community members.
In September of 2021, the court found in favor of Planned Parenthood and granted the request for a permanent injunction, concluding that “[Planned Parenthood] has a clear and equitable right to provide and its patients have clear and equitable rights to seek or obtain health care unimpeded by unlawful acts of others.”
Securing coverage of prenatal care for undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania
Women’s Law Project has won approval from the PA Governor’s Office and Department of Health to expand the state CHIP program to include prenatal care for pregnant people ineligible for other medical assistance due to immigrant status.
Upholding constitutionality of clinic buffer zones in Pennsylvania
After years of Women’s Law Project litigation, the Supreme Court has refused to hear anti-abortion activists’ challenges to PA buffer zone laws, leaving to stand 3rd Circuit rulings that the Harrisburg and Pittsburgh buffer zones are constitutional.
Completing a major study of crisis pregnancy centers in nine states
The Alliance is preparing a public report for national release on our study of 607 CPCs operating in AK, CA, ID, MN, MT, NM, OR, PA, and WA State, including that only 5% are providing prenatal care for clients while more than 35% are promoting dangerous “abortion reversal” regimens.
Read coverage of the Alliance’s CPC work in the BMJ Journal: Essential services? Operating status of crisis pregnancy centres in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic
Increasing Medicaid coverage for family planning in New Mexico
Southwest Women’s Law Center worked with NM allies to secure a 100%-150% increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers of Long Acting Reversible Contraception and for eligible pharmacists with prescriptive authority to dispense contraception in New Mexico.