Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel signs onto brief backing Texas patients’ right to travel outside the state for abortions

By: - September 30, 2022 9:52 am

Dana Nessel | Ken Coleman

Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel signed on to an amicus brief alongside 21 other state attorneys general to ensure that patients can travel outside Texas to seek an abortion. 

The amicus brief was sent in Fund Texas Choice v. Paxton, the case where reproductive rights advocates are aiming to prevent the enforcement of Texas anti-abortion laws that limit the ability for out-of-state travel for providing and seeking abortion services. 

The attorneys general said in the amicus brief that Texas residents and other residents visiting the state for school, work or vacation should be able to travel to other states where abortion is not outlawed. The group said that regulating abortion within Texas is lawful, but argued that regulating interstate travel is not. They argued the laws threaten individuals’ constitutional right to interstate travel and the safety of some individuals, specifically those in need of emergency services. 

The group of attorneys general also expressed their support for upholding Texas’ abortion providers’ ability to travel to other states to provide abortions or help their patients get care. 

In a press release, Nessel said that anti-abortion laws are actively preventing women from leaving the state of Texas by imposing criminal and civil penalties. 

“Swift action is needed to assist states in protecting the right to interstate travel and to preserve at the state level what the Supreme Court took away at the federal level when it overturned Roe v. Wade,” Nessel said. “I proudly stand with my colleagues in supporting this preliminary injunction.”

Nessel is facing Republican Matt DePerno in the Nov. 8 election. DePerno supports Michigan’s 1931 law criminalizing abortion that does not have exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s health. Nessel opposed the law which is currently paused amid court action.

The other attorneys general who signed on included: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Washington, D.C. 

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.