Reproductive health and freedom are fundamental rights. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, women have had the legal right to abortion services across the nation. Some states and some private organizations have sought to interfere with women’s access to reproductive services, including abortion and contraception. The Trump administration has sought to create roadblocks for women seeking reproductive services in the United States and abroad.
Attorneys general play an important role in ensuring women have access to reproductive services, including abortion, as is their right under the law. Attorneys general have advocated for reproductive rights, sued the federal government for unlawful restrictions on reproductive services, and advanced legislation to protect reproductive freedom.
Below are examples of actions taken by attorneys general to protect reproductive health and freedoms:
- A coalition of 22 AGs filed a brief in federal court defending the rights of tens of thousands of women across the country to the full and equal access to birth control guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
- A coalition of 23 AGs filed a brief in federal court opposing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) motion to impose restrictions on Mifepristone, the medication abortion prescription drug. FDA restrictions require Mifepristone to be dispensed by certified providers at a hospital, clinic, or medical office — and not via pharmacy or mail — requiring women to go in person for a prescription during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though evidence shows these restrictions are dated and not medically based.
- A coalition of eight AGs won a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from implementing a rule which threatened to potentially kick millions of women off their health plans if they failed to comply with a technical billing issue related to abortion coverage.
- A coalition of 22 AGs filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case of June Medical Services v. Gee, which struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals.
- A coalition of 23 AGs filed a brief in federal court supporting the City of Baltimore in its lawsuit against the Trump-Pence Administration’s Title X rule. The new rule restricts access to critical preventive reproductive healthcare by prohibiting doctors from providing referrals for abortion or offering complete information to patients about their family planning options.
- A coalition of 19 AGs filed a brief in federal court to stop the State of Tennessee from banning almost all procedural abortions in the state, using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.
- New York AG Letitia James demanded that three health insurance companies immediately provide coverage for 12-month supplies of contraceptives in accordance with New York State law. Under the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, health insurance providers are required to cover 12-month supplies of contraception at one time, yet the AG found that Aetna, MetroPlus Health, and Oscar Health have refused to provide coverage for 12-month supplies to patients.
- A coalition of 19 AGs filed a brief in federal court in support of the plaintiffs in Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Leslie Rutledge, a lawsuit that seeks to protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion care. The coalition supported the last surgical abortion clinic in Arkansas in its challenge to state laws that would restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion by banning abortion after 18 weeks and otherwise restricting women’s access to reproductive care.