Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards announced on Twitter this Wednesday that the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU have filed lawsuits in Alaska, Missouri and North Carolina in an attempt to protect abortion rights in states that have been accruing legislature making access to safe legal abortions more and more difficult.
In a press release, the ACLU outlines the many restrictive and medically unnecessary regulations in place in these states that prevent clinics from serving women seeking abortions:
Missouri regulations require facilities providing abortions to be outfitted like mini-hospitals. Because of the regulations, only one licensed provider remains to serve over one million women in the state.
Meanwhile, regulations in Alaska require clinics to be equipped and staffed for “major” surgery. The requirement is so vague and confusing that the people who are subject to these requirements have no way to know what kinds of actions would violate them.
Other regulations in Alaska that date back 40 years prevent health centers from providing abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy. For many Alaskan women, that means traveling out of state to access the care they need.
In North Carolina, an unconstitutional law that we challenged today bans abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy with exceptions only for extremely narrow medical emergencies.. By doing so, the law forces physicians to delay from caring for women until their condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The law is a threat to the dignity and health of women who seek care, not rejection, from medical professionals.
The Center for Reproductive Rights cites the Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a landmark decision that ruled Texas regulations on abortion clinics were unconstitutional. the ruling has not ended attempts to undermine clinics in Texas, or elsewhere. Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement, “We are a nation of laws, and the Center is prepared to use the full force of the law to ensure women’s fundamental rights are protected and respected. We are proud to stand with our partners in challenging these unconstitutional measures and vow to continue the fight for women’s health, equality, and dignity.”