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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Joins Multistate Brief Challenging Restrictive Abortion Laws

January 28, 2020

Contact: Eleanor Spottswood, Assistant Attorney General, 802-828-3171

Attorney General Donovan today joined a multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief, in Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region v. Parson, challenging the constitutionality of several recently enacted abortion bans in Missouri. As the only remaining abortion clinic in Missouri, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is seeking to overturn two state laws that would create barriers to safe and legal abortion. The coalition’s amicus brief, filed in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that these laws are unconstitutional restrictions on women’s right to choose.

“Abortion is legal and constitutional,” said Attorney General Donovan. “The passage of these laws is a blatant attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade. We will continue to stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Missouri recently enacted a number of anti-choice laws meant to deny women access to abortion care in the state, including a so-called “Reason Ban” and several “Gestational Age Bans” that make it a felony for physicians to perform abortions at or after 8, 14, 18, and 20 weeks—before the stage of viability recognized by the Supreme Court and in some cases before women would even know they were pregnant. The so-called “Reason Ban” prohibits women from obtaining an abortion if the reason is based solely on prenatal testing results indicating the potential of Down syndrome.

In August 2019, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis secured a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri halting Missouri’s attempt to criminalize performing abortions. After the State of Missouri appealed the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Court issued an additional order prohibiting the state from enforcing the so-called “Reason Ban,” which was later appealed by Missouri. The coalition, including Vermont, argues that the law is unconstitutional, does not promote women’s healthcare, and denies women access to safe, legal abortions.

Joining Attorney General Donovan in today’s filing are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is available here.

Last modified: January 28, 2020