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Attorney General William Tong

06/29/2020

Attorney General Tong Statement on Supreme Court Decision Protecting Abortion Rights

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong issued the following statement on the 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the pivotal abortion rights case June Medical Services v. Gee:

“Today's decision was a victory for the rule of law and the right to choose -- but by the narrowest of margins. The Louisiana law had absolutely nothing to do with women's health. It was a brazen effort by the anti-choice movement to attempt a ‘re-do’ of settled precedent and gut Roe v. Wade before new members of the U.S. Supreme Court. This fight is not over, and we will be there to protect choice every single time. This is the third case in the last couple of weeks in which Connecticut played an important role as a litigant or an amicus in defending the civil rights of all people – women, LGBTQ and immigrants. The Chief Justice demonstrated again today that he cares about the rule of the law and the institutional credibility of the Court. I hope he will continue that commitment," said Attorney General Tong.

In 2014, Louisiana passed a law that required abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. If the law were enforced, Louisiana would have been left with, at most, two physicians who could provide abortion services in the state, despite the fact that roughly 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year. Louisiana’s admitting-privileges requirement is identical to the Texas statute that was invalidated and found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted a permanent injunction against the Louisiana law, but, in 2018, the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision. June Medical Services and two physicians appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which granted an emergency application to stay the law from taking effect pending the outcome of the appeal.

Connecticut joined a coalition of attorneys general filing an amicus brief in the case, arguing that states have an interest in ensuring the availability of safe, medically sound abortion services and in protecting the health and safety of women seeking abortion services, as well as defending the long-recognized, substantive due process right to choose to terminate a pregnancy and the undue-burden standard that governs review of regulations implicating that right. In the brief, the attorneys general argued that Louisiana’s law was an unnecessary and onerous burden that failed to promote women’s health and will end up further limiting the number of abortion providers available to women in Louisiana.

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