St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America joined partners at the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyering Project, and others to file a lawsuit to block S.B. 8, a new law that is set to take effect on September 1. Plaintiffs in the case include abortion providers from across Texas who are challenging the state’s blatantly unconstitutional attack that bans abortion at six weeks. What sets this law apart from prior abortion bans that courts have uniformly enjoined is that S.B.8 invites private individuals—such as neighbors, family members, or even complete strangers who oppose abortion or seek financial gain—to sue anyone who provides or intends to provide an abortion after six weeks in Texas (rather than the law being directly enforced through state officials, agencies or prosecutors). It also further criminalizes abortion by inviting suits against anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion or intends to do so.
The lawsuit follows recent news that this fall, the Supreme Court will hear the first major abortion case since Judge Amy Coney Barrett took the bench (Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization). While abortion remains legal in the United States today, the right to abortion is at risk like never before with an unprecedented number of attacks on abortion taking place at the state and federal level, including the five-state region that Planned Parenthood North Central States serves. If Roe v. Wade were significantly undermined, abortion rights would be decided at the state level and it’s expected that nearly half the country would ban or severely restrict abortion.
Below is a statement from Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States:
“The Texas abortion ban is a new and incredibly cruel assault that goes beyond any attack on abortion that we’ve seen before in this country. Not only does the law unconstitutionally ban and criminalize abortion, it also allows anyone — including anti-abortion protesters— to act as bounty hunters and sue doctors, health centers, and anyone who helps another person access abortion, and collect $10,000 for each abortion.
At the same time, later this year, the Supreme Court will review a Mississippi abortion ban in a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and has the potential to allow abortion bans like the one in Texas to stand. The Supreme Court is on the cusp of opening the floodgates to abortion bans across the country, which could leave almost half of our country without abortion access. None of this is a coincidence. While abortion is still safe and legal in this country today, anti-abortion activists are doing everything they can to take away our ability to control our own bodies and futures.
And let’s be clear--these abortion bans will bring the greatest harm to communities of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas. People struggling to make ends meet often delay abortion services because they need time to secure funds and can’t travel out of state to get the care they need.
We are at a critical moment in our country’s history when our right to control our bodies is at risk like never before. We know that most people in this country support the right to safe, legal abortion and each one of us must act now and make our voice heard—with friends, families, in our communities. We must speak now- before it is too late."
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 55,000 people in our region.