Abortion Access Affects Us All: LGBTQ Organizations Urge SCOTUS to Uphold Precedent

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December 2, 2019

Today, Lambda Legal joined LGBTQ advocacy organizations in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of June Medical Services, which is challenging Louisiana’s Act 620, an unnecessary and burdensome requirement that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital, which only serves to make it harder for patients to access abortion services.

If allowed to become law, Act 620 would shutter all but one abortion provider in the state and create additional barriers to critical and potentially lifesaving healthcare for LGBTQ people.

“LGBTQ people report experiencing alarming rates of discrimination in health care settings, contributing to disparities and worse health outcomes for our communities. As providers of health care services that are also highly stigmatized like abortion, clinics like June Medical Services, Planned Parenthood and others are often the only culturally competent providers of health care services for LGBTQ people,” said Camilla B. Taylor, Lambda Legal’s Director of Constitutional Litigation.

“If this law is allowed to stand, it would be nothing short of a public health crisis, not to mention a constitutional one.”

In 2014, Louisiana passed Act 620, which if allowed to go into effect would require health care providers who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a virtually identical law out of Texas, when it ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that states cannot place erroneous restrictions on abortion providers that create an undue burden for women seeking to exercise their right to an abortion.

“Louisiana’s Act 620 was designed explicitly to shut down clinics and block access to abortion services. The Supreme Court has made clear that this is unconstitutional,” added Taylor.

“No state in the country should be allowed to defy Supreme Court precedent by making up new rationales that are based in pseudoscience and are merely a pretext for interfering with patients’ right to make decisions regarding their bodies.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights represents June Medical Services, LLC. The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gee v. June Medical Services on March 4, 2020.

The amicus brief was authored by Shannon P. Minter, Julianna S. Gonen and Christopher F. Stoll of National Center for Lesbian Rights and David J. Weiner, Allyson Himelfarb, Andrew Tutt and Avishai D. Don of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.

In addition to Lambda Legal, signatories include Athlete Ally, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), Equality California, Equality North Carolina, Evan Wolfson (founder of Freedom to Marry), Family Equality, FreeState Justice, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Human Rights Campaign, Mazzoni Center, Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), Movement Advancement Project (MAP), National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Equality Action Team, National LGBTQ Task Force, Silver State Equality-Nevada, Southern Poverty Law Center, The National LGBT Bar Association, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Whitman-Walker Health.