Next week, the Supreme Court will hear the Center for Reproductive Rights’case, June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo (formerly June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee), challenging a law that would close two out of three abortion clinics in Louisiana making abortion nearly impossible to access for thousands of individuals.
The disputed law is identical to the law struck down by the court in 2016 in its 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health vs Hellerstedt. The Louisiana law requires doctors who provide abortion care to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic. The only change is the composition of the Supreme Court, now stacked with anti-abortion justices. The outcome poses a dire threat to abortion rights; while the court could uphold its own precedent and reaffirm the constitutional right, it is far more likely to let the law go into effect – gutting Roe and opening the doors for other states to pass similar legislation.
The court will also consider whether abortion providers have legal standing to argue cases on behalf of our patients. Without standing for clinics to challenge hostile laws with groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU, we would lose one of our most effective tools in protecting abortion access. In 2015, for example, Mabel Wadsworth Center teamed up with other providers and the ACLU to sue the state of Maine on behalf of our patients to restore MaineCare coverage of abortion. Our case relied heavily on expertise of clinic staff who explained the numerous barriers faced by our patients and why coverage was necessary to ensure meaningful abortion access to all Mainers. While we ultimately ended the MaineCare coverage ban through legislation in 2019, being able to bring litigation to represent our patients when needed is equally important, especially in states like Louisiana led by anti-abortion politicians.
Understanding the significance of this case, our executive director, Andrea Irwin, and our board member, Aislinn Canarr, have shared their stories with the Supreme Court in two different amicus briefs. Andrea joined over 350 lawyers and legal professionals who have had abortions and would not have been able to realize their personal and/or professional goals were it not for their ability to control their reproductive lives. Aislinn’s story is one of eleven stories that represent a wide range of experiences held by people who have had abortions.
“Aislinn was not ashamed to get an abortion. She told her family she was pregnant as soon as she found out. Although her family supported her decision, she would not have had the resources to sue the State had that been required to obtain an abortion.”
Additionally, our director of community engagement, Abbie Strout-Bentes, will be heading to DC next week to participate in the #MyRightMyDecision rally at the Supreme Court. You can vote for her rally sign here.
At this point, you are probably wondering “what can I do?”
Help get the word out.
Here is everything you need to spread the word about the #MyRightMyDecision campaign. Share the graphics and use the hashtag #MyRightMyDecision to demand that abortion is treated as what it is: a normal and common part of reproductive healthcare and a constitutional right guaranteed to all, regardless of what state you live in.