– In a changed political landscape, pro-abortion rights groups have filed lawsuits against three states’ abortion laws.
Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s reproductive freedom project, told the British newspaper The Independent that the lawsuits were just the “first wave” in their efforts.
But to Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, the lawsuits were a sign of panic among abortion advocates.
“They lost big at the ballot box, so now they’re looking to the courts to undo the will of state legislatures,” said Dannenfelser, who advised the Trump campaign. “They realize the sense of urgency to head to the courts now knowing that the judicial landscape will change under a pro-life President Trump.”
Planned Parenthood chief medical officer Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley claimed recent political developments combine to make “the biggest threat we’ve seen” in the abortion provider’s history.
The lawsuits were filed by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Attorneys from the latter two groups told a November 30 press conference that the lawsuits aim to follow up on a 2016 Supreme Court case that struck down abortion restrictions in Texas.
The Missouri lawsuit challenges rules similar to the rejected Texas law that required abortion clinics to meet physical standards for surgical abortion clinics and to have doctors with admitting privileges in nearby hospitals.
Only one licensed abortion clinic remains in Missouri, in St. Louis, the Associated Press said, crediting the law for some abortion clinic closures.
In Alaska, the pro-abortion rights groups challenged 40-year-old regulations barring abortion in outpatient health centers after the first trimester of pregnancy. They said the rules compel women who want to procure abortions to travel out of state.
Planned Parenthood said it sends about 30 of such women out of state each year.
In North Carolina, the law allows doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy only in cases of immediate medical emergencies. The ACLU objected that this bars abortions for women in high-risk pregnancies from having abortions until death or major health damage is imminent.
As Republicans take control of the House, Senate and presidency, Planned Parenthood could face a renewed push against its more than $500 million in annual federal funding.
There are also discussions over whether to make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds being used directly for most abortions.