Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford has joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general fighting against efforts to limit access to abortion services.
Ford’s office announced joining the coalition on Wednesday in filing an amicus brief in a South Carolina case: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Wilson. The brief argues that “South Carolina’s pre-viability abortion restrictions harm women’s health care as a whole and a lower court’s ruling blocking the law should be upheld,” a release from Ford’s office stated on Wednesday.
In addition, the coalition argues that the overall impact of numerous states enacting restrictive abortion laws or eliminating access harms health care nationwide.
“Like Texas, South Carolina has directly attacked the constitutional reproductive rights of its residents, who must be allowed to access safe and legal abortions,” AG Ford said. “Women must be allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care and bodily autonomy. Our office will not sit on the sidelines and watch as these shameful attacks on necessary health care continue.”
South Carolina legislation
South Carolina passed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in February. The legislation prohibits abortions upon the detection of an embryonic cardiac activity, which effectively bans abortion after six weeks, according to Ford’s release.
After the act passed, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic filed suit for a temporary injunction, which was granted by a federal district court.
Ford’s release states, “In their amicus brief, the coalition argues that access to safe and legal abortion is an essential component of women’s health care and restrictive abortion laws, like the South Carolina law, lead to worse health outcomes for women. The coalition also argues that laws banning abortion after the detection of a fetal cardiac activity have harmful spillover effects on miscarriage treatment and other health care needs.”
Ford and members of the coalition argue that the South Carolina act could “threaten residents of neighboring states” and the health care systems in those states, according to Ford’s release.
“South Carolina’s restrictive abortion laws will cause its citizens to seek abortion care in [neighboring states], potentially straining their health care systems,” Ford’s release states. “[G]iven that numerous states across the country have enacted similarly restrictive or more restrictive legislation than South Carolina’s Act…[and] [i]f access to safe and lawful abortions were banned in large geographic portions of the country, it would create vast ‘abortion deserts’ in which access to abortion care may be unobtainable for many people due to the obstacles created by the sheer distance from lawful abortion care.”
Nevada is joined by 20 other states in the amicus brief: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.