Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday joined a coalition of nearly two dozen other states that have appealed in federal court to protect women’s reproductive rights.
In filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth District, the multi-state coalition of attorneys-general supported a lawsuit against a trio of Arkansas state laws that prohibit legal abortions after 18 weeks and severely restrict women’s access to reproductive care.
“An attack on reproductive rights everywhere undermines reproductive rights everywhere,” Shapiro said in a written statement. “We’ve seen these partisan, baseless attempts to undermine established laws time and again in Pennsylvania and other states – and we don’t stand for them. Women need to be in control of their own bodies. You deserve the right of access to quality, safe, and trouble-free reproductive health care. And as long as I hold this position, that’s exactly what I’ll fight for. “
The Arkansas litigation lets the state and two clinics argue over the fate of three new abortion laws that are banned from coming into force. Planned Parenthood and several clinics have asked the appellate judges to uphold the injunction pending the constitutional review.
Arkansas is one of several states testing the abortion law limits set in Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
The multi-state roll call comes just a few days later nine Pennsylvania Republicans Pennsylvania urged the US Supreme Court to overturn the two landmark cases.
The roster of nine Republican lawmakers includes: Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District; Scott Perry, R-10. District; Lloyd Smucker, R-11. District; John Joyce, R-13. District; Guy Reschenthaler, R-14. District; Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15. District, and Mike Kelly, R-16. District.
“If Pennsylvania and other states don’t join forces to defend the US Constitution in Arkansas and every state where it is threatened, it will mean a generational setback for all women,” Shapiro said.
The multi-state coalition argues that Arkansas laws violate the rights guaranteed in Roe against Wade. The attorneys general argue that restricting or eliminating women’s access to safe and legal abortions leads to poorer health and socio-economic outcomes for women.
Arkansas laws would criminalize abortions performed after 18 weeks and otherwise encumber women’s constitutional right to abortion. Plaintiffs argue that Arkansas laws either make abortions unavailable or less safe for women.
A US district court temporarily blocked Arkansas laws in July. Arkansas then appealed to the U.S. Eighth District Court of Appeals.
The coalition led by California Attorney General Becerra includes attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Pennsylvania in 2019 saw a unprecedented wave of laws in To adopt abortion restrictions. Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has vowed to veto any laws restricting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania.
The latest nationwide abortion census shows a slight increase in abortions from previous numbers, but rates generally lower than the peak rates.
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