Over 300 Local and State Elected Officials Unite in Support of
Abortion Access as June Medical Services v. Russo Decision Looms
Local and state legislators commit to protecting constituents’ right to make decisions about their families and bodies without coercion or violence.
May 28, 2020 — As the country waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its first major abortion rights decision since Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have taken the bench, over 300 local and state elected officials have signed on to an open letter urging the Justices to stand by decades of precedent and reject the medically unnecessary Louisiana law which would shut down all but one clinic in the state.
The letter and signatories can be found in its entirety here.
In the open letter, local and state legislators underscore protecting people’s right to make decisions about their families and their body, free from coercion or violence.
The court’s forthcoming decision is “an opportunity for the Court to uphold precedent and ensure Louisiana does not devastate peoples’ ability to get safe, legal abortion care in their communities,” the letter reads. “Anything less…would open the door for states to regulate abortion out of existence for millions of families.”
Over 300 elected officials from across the country signed the letter including Louisiana State Representative Mandie Landry: “As a lawyer who represented one of Louisiana’s last three remaining abortion clinics, and now as an elected Louisiana state representative, I join hundreds of local and state officials in working to protect abortion care and reproductive freedom in our communities. All of us — no matter where we live or how much money we have — must be able to make our own decisions about our bodies and families.”
“Even though the Supreme Court is weighing on a law coming from Louisiana, abortion restrictions and massive, systemic barriers to care pose a nationwide problem,” said Georgia State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick. “None of us should be blocked from making decisions about our bodies and families without shame and coercion, but in too many other states, that’s not the case.”
“Anti-abortion politicians in Louisiana, Ohio, and across the country are relentless,” said Ohio State Representative Erica Crawley. “This Supreme Court case is critical to protecting clinics and challenging the cruelty of anti-abortion lawmakers. But no matter what the high court rules, our communities will rise, organize and do everything we can to tear down the systemic, discriminatory barriers to abortion care.”
The June Medical Services v. Russo case calls into question a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic they perform their abortions.
Louisiana’s admitting privileges law is virtually identical to a Texas law that the Supreme Court already struck down as unconstitutional just a few years ago, in the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
“Hundreds of state level abortion restrictions have been enacted in the last decade due to a well-funded, coordinated effort by anti-abortion proponents,” says Sophia Kerby, Director of Reproductive Rights, State Innovation Exchange (SiX). “But today, 323 state and local elected officials are using the power of their voices and the privilege of public office to advance freedom and bodily autonomy for all — regardless of your income or what zip code you live in.”
About State Innovation Exchange
The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy. SiX provides legislators with on-the-ground support; creates tailored policy research, trainings, and communications guidance; and fosters collaboration between legislators—across chambers, across regions, and across state lines—and with grassroots movements.
SiX launched the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC) in 2018. Now a cohort of more than 425 legislators from 46 states, RFLC members work to protect and expand abortion rights and access and amplify the need for sound and strong state policies that support reproductive health including access to abortion care.