Attorney General Aaron M. Frey joined a coalition of 16 states led by Illinois Attorney General Kwane Raoul yesterday to file an amicus brief supporting women’s access to safe reproductive health care. The coalition filed the brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA), vs Hill, currently pending in the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
The coalition filed the brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA),which is attempting to open a medication abortion clinic in South Bend, Indiana. In the brief, the coalition argues that states have an interest in protecting the health and safety of residents, which includes promoting access to safe health care and reproductive health care.
“There has been a disturbing trend across the country of states misusing the regulatory process with the purpose of limiting residents’ access to safe and legal abortion services,” said Frey in the press release.
“Patients have the right to choose their health care services and inhibiting access in this way both places an undue burden on them and puts them at risk of seeking these services through unsafe sources.”
WWHA filed a lawsuit against the Indiana state officials after they denied WWHA’s application for a license to open a clinic that would provide medication abortions in South Bend. The state denied the license claiming that WWHA’s application did not provide complete and accurate information about affiliated entities operating clinics in other states. WWHA filed suit and brought a preliminary injunction, arguing the state’s licensing requirements, as applied to the South Bend clinic, are overly vague and unconstitutional the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana entered a preliminary injunction requiring Indiana to allow WWHA to open the clinic, ruling that WWHA was likely to prove that the state’s application of the regulatory process in the case was unconstitutional because it placed an undue burden on a woman’s ability to choose to have an abortion.
The coalition points out that states have a strong interest in ensuring that abortion care, like all health care services, is provided safely. State’s interest in public health is best served when their licensing and regulatory process are applied to protect the health and safety of patients, rather than to deny women access to safe abortion services. In the brief, Attorney General’s argue that preventing a clinic from operating in and underserved areas may cause women to seek abortions from wholly unregulated sources or to undergo more risky procedures because they are forced to delay care.
Currently there are six abortion clinics in the state of Indiana and half are located in Indianapolis.
Other Attorneys General filing the brief were from: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.