Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel joins 20 AGs in lawsuit against South Carolina abortion ban

By: - September 10, 2021 8:20 am

Protesters at the Supreme Court in March 2020, when the justices were hearing arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo | Robin Bravender

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 20 other colleagues from around the country to support Planned Parenthood in its fight against a restrictive abortion law in South Carolina.

In the amicus brief filed Wednesday in the Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Wilson case, which is levied against South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, the 21 attorneys general argue that the act in question — which effectively bans abortion after six weeks — is wholly harmful to women’s health care and should be struck down.

The Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) nonprofit suing the state provides a range of reproductive and sexual health care services across South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The group filed suit in federal court after South Carolina passed the act in February, and was then granted a temporary injunction by the federal district court.

Dana Nessel, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Nessel and her colleagues are now asking that the decision from the lower court should be upheld.

“This law and others like it around the country only serve to harm women’s access to healthcare and must be struck down,” Nessel said. “We have an obligation to speak out against these restrictive regulations and maintain our commitment to protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.”

Joining Nessel in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,  Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia. 

“Overwhelming scientific evidence establishes that restrictive abortion laws — like the one challenged in this case — not only lead to worse health outcomes for women, but also fail to lower abortion rates,” the brief reads.

“… Although the Act purports to promote the interests of ‘the health of the pregnant woman,’ it eliminates access to safe and legal abortions, which leads to worse health outcomes for pregnant people and negatively impacts healthcare overall.”

The brief also argues that restrictive laws in one state will lead to a strain on health care systems in neighboring states.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).