Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel joins group fighting Mississippi anti-abortion law

By: - April 15, 2019 3:29 pm

Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 20 other state attorneys general in support of women’s reproductive rights.

Nessel, in a statement on Monday afternoon, announced that the coalition had filed a brief in federal court on Friday to support Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic. The case, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeks to challenge a state law that prohibits doctors from providing abortion services after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The case in Mississippi is similar to one in Kentucky that Nessel is also supporting, as the Advance reported last week.

Other states joining the coalition include California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.

Nessel, a Democrat, said that joining the cases is a way of fighting back against “a concerted effort” to restrict women’s abortion rights around the country.

“Make no mistake, this is the beginning of a concerted effort to overturn Roe v. Wade and to take states – including Michigan – back to the dark ages where women were forced to resort to back-alley abortions for fear of criminal prosecution,” Nessel said. “We cannot and will not sit idly by. We have an obligation to step up and speak out for the protection of Michigan women and all women.”

In the filing, the attorneys general write that limiting abortions, such as Mississippi has done with its law, can have unintended consequences for women’s health.

“[We] recognize and share Mississippi’s interests in protecting the health of all women, including women of childbearing age,” the brief states. “But reducing or eliminating access to safe and legal abortion leads to worse health outcomes for women.”

Nessel is scheduled to speak on Tuesday at Planned Parenthood’s action summit in Lansing.

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.