Racial Equality

Illinois Traffic Stop Data Shows

Continued Racial Inequalities 

in Stops, Searches

    Illinois (ACLU) - 7/31/2022 - Motorists of color on Illinois streets and highways continue to be stopped at rates higher than that of white drivers according to data collected and reported by police across the state. In 2021, Black drivers were approximately 1.7 times more likely to be stopped by police than white drivers. While Latinx drivers did not see a statewide disparity, they are more likely to be stopped in many jurisdictions. 

    Racial inequities in traffic stops have persisted statewide and in many jurisdictions for years. Black and Latinx drivers are often pulled over for low-level violations, whether it is changing lanes without signaling or having a broken taillight—offenses for which white drivers who violate the same laws are often not stopped. 

    The data for traffic stops in 2021 is contained in a recent report released by the Illinois Department of Transportation earlier this summer, as mandated by the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act (“the Act”).  The Act requires all law enforcement officers in Illinois to record and report data about every motorist they stop, including the race of the motorist, the reason for the stop and the outcome of the stop.  The Act was originally sponsored by then-State Senator Barack Obama and made permanent in recent years.

    The Act was designed to provide law enforcement leadership across the state with a tool for addressing potential racial bias in traffic enforcement. In highlighting the data today, the ACLU of Illinois again calls on law enforcement leadership to review and focus on the data to seek improvement. 

    “Black drivers from across the state have raised concerns for years that police are more likely to stop them than white drivers – that remains true based on this data,” said Joshua Levin, staff attorney for the ACLU of Illinois. “This is not anecdotal or selective – this reality is based on data that police report themselves about traffic stops in their communities. And that data consistently shows that Black drivers are more likely to be stopped than white drivers. ”

    The report makes clear that no single community is responsible for this disparity and some communities have improved in recent years.  Still, some communities have a rate of racial disparities far worse than the statewide rate.

    A number of communities across Illinois showed disparities:

    Chicago: Black drivers were more than 5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers; Latinx drivers were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be stopped;

    Aurora: Black drivers were 7 times more likely to be stopped by police; Latinx drivers were nearly 4 times more likely;

    Bloomington: Black drivers were 4.7 times more likely to be stopped by police; Latinx drivers were twice as likely;

    Peoria: Black drivers were 6.8 times more likely to be stopped by police; Latinx drivers were 2.3 times more likely;

    Springfield: Black drivers were 5 times more likely to be stopped by police, even though Latinx drivers were stopped consistent with their driving population in the community

    “Black people who have lived in Springfield for any amount of time have noticed that Blacks were more likely to be stopped while driving compared to white drivers,” added Ken Page, a Black driver and President of the ACLU of Illinois Chapter in Springfield. “This data shows that we have more to do as a community to make everyone feel like policing is fair and even-handed. We will be calling on our elected officials and law enforcement leaders to address this situation.”

    The data also shows that Black drivers were more likely to be asked for consent to search their car by police once a stop has been made. Black drivers statewide were more than 40 percent more likely to be asked for permission for such a search. In Chicago, Black drivers were more than 5 times more likely to be asked to allow police to conduct a consent search. Yet the data shows that Chicago police were more likely to find contraband in the automobile of a white motorist. 

    The ACLU’s Levin added: “Because Black and Latinx drivers are more likely to be stopped by police, they are more likely to experience invasive questioning, searches, humiliation, and, all too often, tragic violence at the hands of police. This is why we renew our call on police departments across Illinois to review and use this data to address these longstanding disparities. The Illinois legislature intended this data to be a tool for reform and improvement. Every police agency in Illinois should explain how it will change its policies to solve these stubborn racial inequalities.”

Reproductive Rights

Planned Parenthood Groups in 

Illinois, Wisconsin Partner 

to Improve Access


By Jonah Chester
Producer, Public News Service

 

     Illinois - (PNS) - 7/27/22 - Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Wisconsin are partnering to improve abortion access for Wisconsinites.

    Abortion in Wisconsin was functionally banned after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case guaranteeing access to abortions.

    Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said the new partnership will increase services at the state's Waukegan clinic, just across the Wisconsin-Illinois border, south of Kenosha.

    "Abortion providers from Wisconsin now travel to Illinois several days a week to expand access to care at our Waukegan health center," Welch explained. "We opened the Waukegan health center in 2020 in anticipation of this moment."

    The legality of Wisconsin's 1849 abortion ban is currently a matter of dispute, and the state's Democratic Attorney General has filed a lawsuit to strike down the pre-Civil War measure. Even if its enforceability is questionable, the threat of legal action pushed Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to discontinue providing abortion care at its clinics.

    Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the organization will continue to offer non-abortion-related reproductive health care. She added support is available for anyone who needs help getting to the Waukegan clinic.

    "We have also added patient navigators who can work with patients one-on-one and offer additional travel and financial support," Atkinson outlined. "We really want to remove those barriers for people, as much as we're able."

    According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, in 2020, Illinois clinics performed roughly 530 abortions for Wisconsin patients, out of the nearly 9,700 total abortions performed for out-of-state residents.

    Kristen Schultz, chief strategy and operations officer for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said demand has exploded since Roe's fall.

    "Patients from Wisconsin traveling to our health centers across the state in Illinois for abortion has increased 10 times versus the pre-June average," Schultz reported. "We expect to see this need continue to expand."

    Before the Supreme Court's ruling, the number of out-of-state abortions Illinois clinics provided had steadily grown over the years. In 1995, the state performed about 3,600 abortions for out-of-state patients, roughly 63% below the number provided in 2020.

References:  

Ruling U.S. Supreme Court 06/24/2022
Abortion law Wis. State Legislature 1849
Abortion statistics Ill. Dept. of Public Health 2020

Credit: Story published courtesy of Public News Service.

Law and Justice


Justice Department Charges 

Dozens for $1.2 Billion 

in Health Care Fraud

 

     WASHINGTON, D.C., (DOJ) - 7/20/2022 - The Department of Justice today announced criminal charges against 36 defendants in 13 federal districts across the United States for more than $1.2 billion in alleged fraudulent telemedicine, cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing, and durable medical equipment (DME) schemes.

    The nationwide coordinated law enforcement action includes criminal charges against a telemedicine company executive, owners and executives of clinical laboratories, durable medical equipment companies, marketing organizations, and medical professionals.

    Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Center for Program Integrity (CPI) announced today that it took adverse administrative actions against 52 providers involved in similar schemes. In connection with the enforcement action, the department seized over $8 million in cash, luxury vehicles, and other fraud proceeds.

    “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting people who abuse our health care system and exploit telemedicine technologies in fraud and bribery schemes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This enforcement action demonstrates that the department will do everything in its power to protect the health care systems our communities rely on from people looking to defraud them for their own personal gain.”

    The coordinated federal investigations announced today primarily targeted alleged schemes involving the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes by laboratory owners and operators in exchange for the referral of patients by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine and digital medical technology companies. Telemedicine schemes account for more than $1 billion of the total alleged intended losses associated with today’s enforcement action. These charges include some of the first prosecutions in the nation related to fraudulent cardiovascular genetic testing, a burgeoning scheme. As alleged in court documents, medical professionals made referrals for expensive and medically unnecessary cardiovascular and cancer genetic tests, as well as durable medical equipment. For example, cardiovascular genetic testing was not a method of diagnosing whether an individual presently had a cardiac condition and was not approved by Medicare for use as a general screening test for indicating an increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions in the future.

    “Protecting the American people is at the forefront of the FBI’s mission,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Fraudsters and scammers take advantage of telemedicine and use it as a platform to orchestrate their criminal schemes. This collaborative law enforcement action shows our dedication to investigating and bringing to justice those who look to exploit our U.S. health care system at the expense of patients.”

    “Today’s enforcement action highlights our dedication to fighting health care fraud and investigating individuals who target Medicare beneficiaries and steal from taxpayers for personal gain,” said Inspector General Christi A. Grimm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “HHS-OIG is proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to disrupt fraud schemes that use the guise of telehealth to expand the reach of kickback schemes designed to cheat federally funded health care programs.”

    One particular case charged involved the operator of several clinical laboratories, who was charged in connection with a scheme to pay over $16 million in kickbacks to marketers who, in turn, paid kickbacks to telemedicine companies and call centers in exchange for doctors’ orders. As alleged in court documents, orders for cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing were used by the defendant and others to submit over $174 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare—but the results of the testing were not used in treatment of patients. The defendant allegedly laundered the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme through a complex network of bank accounts and entities, including to purchase luxury vehicles, a yacht, and real estate. The indictment seeks forfeiture of over $7 million in United States currency, three properties, the yacht, and a Tesla and other vehicles.  

    Some of the defendants charged in this enforcement action allegedly controlled a telemarketing network, based both domestically and overseas, that lured thousands of elderly and/or disabled patients into a criminal scheme. The owners of marketing organizations allegedly had telemarketers use deceptive techniques to induce Medicare beneficiaries to agree to cardiovascular genetic testing, and other genetic testing and equipment.

    “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues to aggressively investigate fraud, waste and abuse and has taken action to protect patients, critical health care resources and to prevent losses to the Medicare Trust Fund,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Work like this to combat fraud, waste, and abuse in our federal programs would not be possible without the successful partnership of CMS, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.”

    The charges announced today allege that the telemedicine companies arranged for medical professionals to order these expensive genetic tests and durable medical equipment regardless of whether the patients needed them, and that they were ordered without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephonic conversation. Often, these test results or durable medical equipment were not provided to the patients or were worthless to their primary care doctors. 

    Today’s announcement builds on prior telemedicine enforcement actions involving over $8 billion in fraud, including 2019’s Operation Brace Yourself, 2019’s Operation Double Helix, 2020’s Operation Rubber Stamp, and the telemedicine component of the 2021 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action. Specifically, the Operation Brace Yourself Telemedicine and Durable Medical Equipment Takedown alone resulted in an estimated cost avoidance of more than $1.9 billion in the amount paid by Medicare for orthotic braces in the 20 months following that enforcement action.

    Today’s enforcement actions were led and coordinated by Acting Principal Assistant Chief Jacob Foster, Acting Assistant Chief Rebecca Yuan and Trial Attorney Catherine Wagner of the National Rapid Response Strike Force in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force and the Health Care Fraud Unit’s Strike Forces (SF) in Brooklyn, Detroit, the Gulf Coast, Houston, Miami, Newark, as well as the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the District of New Jersey, Eastern District of Louisiana, Eastern District of Texas, Middle District of Florida, Middle District of Tennessee, Northern District of Georgia, Northern District of Mississippi, and Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting these cases.

    In addition to the FBI, HHS-OIG, and CPI/CMS, VA-OIG, DCIS, IRS, MFCU, DEA, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies participated in the operation.

    Prior to the charges announced as part of today’s nationwide enforcement action and since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 16 strike forces operating in 27 districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively billed federal health care programs and private insurers approximately $24.7 billion.

    A complaint, information or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    The following documents related to today’s announcement are available on the Health Care Fraud Unit website through the following links:

Telemedicine Enforcement Action (justice.gov)

Telemedicine Court Documents (justice.gov)

Telemedicine Press Releases (justice.gov)

Telemedicine Case Summaries (justice.gov)

    Any patients who believe that they have been contacted as part of a fraudulent telemedicine, clinical laboratory, or DME scheme should call to report this conduct to HHS-OIG at 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

Law and Politics

Legal Experts Say Supreme Court 

Reforms Urgently Needed

    Washington, D.C. — (CAP) - 7/18/2022 - A blockbuster U.S. Supreme Court term that saw an extremist right-wing majority roll back a string of long-held rights and protections has only heightened the need to consider major reforms to the high court and lower federal courts, two members who served on the presidential commission to study court reforms said Thursday.

    The remarks from Sherrilyn Ifill, law professor and former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, came during a panel discussion co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Brennan Center. The panel was moderated by Laura Coates, a senior legal analyst at CNN and host of The Laura Coates Show on Sirius XM.

    “The Supreme Court sits within our democracy, not outside of it and over it,” Ifill said. She noted that respect for the court’s authority shouldn’t prevent Americans from considering reforms such as term limits for justices, a binding code of ethics, increased transparency for the court’s “shadow docket,” and clearer rules for recusal from cases presenting a conflict of interest.

    “We are supposed to be able to correct issues that we see stand in the way of our democracy being able to be as true to itself as it could possibly be,” Ifill said.

    Waldman said that the Supreme Court is “a political institution that we Americans have been fighting about since the beginning of the country’s history.” He argued that it’s not a breach of norms to talk about possible reforms such as expanding the number of seats or imposing term limits.

    “How we read the Constitution and role of the Supreme Court is properly a major political issue,” Waldman said. “Certainly, the folks who, for decades, have waged a campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade or to have the individual right to gun ownership recognized in the constitution—they understood that. And we need to understand, too, that kitchen-table advocacy on the Constitution is going to be part of our debate going forward.”

    Waldman also encouraged Congress to expand the number of judges in the lower federal appeals and district courts to keep pace with the expanding population. He noted that lower federal courts were last expanded in 1990, yet the population has grown by 100 million people. Expansion of lower courts would also provide a change to improve the diversity of judges on the federal bench, he said.

    Waldman said the 6-3 conservative majority on the court has taken an extreme and ideological approach to how cases should be decided.

    “We saw in the last few days of the term, last month, a decade’s worth of right-wing social change jammed into three days by the unelected part of the government.” He was referring to cases overturning a constitutional right to abortion, striking down a New York concealed-carry gun law, and curbing the regulatory powers of federal agencies.

    “All the guardrails we now know need to try and contain a giant truck with the brakes cut and rumbling down the road,” he said.

    Ifill said she was particularly concerned about the court’s lack of respect for long-standing precedent in cases, especially in overturning Roe v. Wade.

    “There have to be a set of reasons and a set of benchmarks before you overrule a decision that you have made in the past, especially a long-standing decision that millions of people have relied on,” Ifill said

    She took issue with conservatives who compared the court’s abortion decision to the historic overruling of Plessy v. Ferguson, which approved the racist “separate but equal” doctrine until it was overruled by Brown v. Board of Education.

    Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned after a long process of cases in which the court itself began to wear away at the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’,” Ifill said.

    By contrast, Roe had been consistently upheld over nearly 50 years until it was suddenly overturned. When precedent is just “thrown to the wind,” people have a right to question the legitimacy of the court’s rulings, Ifill said.

    Ifill warned that the next Supreme Court term could be even worse, with cases targeting affirmative action, voting rights, and the power of state courts to review elections. The latter case could “fundamentally upend politics in this country and is the single-most powerful threat to democracy on the court’s docket,” she said.

    Watch the panel discussion: “Fixing Our Broken Courts

Insurance Industry

Auto Insurance Companies Made

Windfall Profits During Pandemic

Advocates call for policy change to better protect customers


    Illinois (PIRG) - 7/13/2022 - Auto insurance companies’ profits soared during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many Illinoisans were driving less and “sheltering in place.” The risks associated with driving plummeted but insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk, according to new data released by the Illinois Department of Insurance recently.

    According to preliminary analysis, the new data is in line with previous estimates that insurance companies could still owe Illinois car insurance customers $896 million in pandemic relief. For example, the top four auto-insurance companies by Illinois market share – State Farm, Geico, Progressive and Allstate – charged customers $280 million more than needed to maintain their 2019 profitability, even after accounting for the $220 million they refunded customers in 2020.

    After overcharging customers, Illinois’ major insurance companies rewarded top executives with generous bonuses.

    “Moments of crisis are revealing. Auto insurers took the opportunity provided by the pandemic to charge their customers excessive rates and make windfall profits,” said Abe Scarr, director of Illinois PIRG Education Fund. “The General Assembly should give the Department of Insurance authority to review rate hikes and protect Illinois consumers.”

    While auto insurance companies were slow to reduce rates or provide rebates to customers because of the pandemic -- and those reductions and rebates proved inadequate -- they have been aggressively increasing rates in recent months, claiming that an uptick in crashes and inflationary pressure requires immediate price hikes. State Farm recently raised rates by 3%, only two weeks after a 5% increase. In January, Allstate hiked rates by 12%.

    Illinois regulators have no power to block or modify insurance rate hikes -- or to mandate reductions or refunds -- as regulators do in other states. California regulators, for example, ordered insurance companies to “close the gap” after initial pandemic rebates fell short. In March 2021, State Farm announced that it was sending its California customers an additional $400 million dollars in pandemic refunds “due to better than anticipated claims results” during the second half of 2020.

    Illinois state legislators say insurers need to do better.

    “I am appalled that these companies overcharged families sheltering at home and call on the insurers to issue additional refunds promptly,” said Illinois state Sen. Jacqueline Collins. “This is particularly important in Black communities like those I represent, where auto insurers indiscriminately charge higher rates."

    The new data is the result of a March Illinois Department of Insurance call for information documenting insurer profits, losses, and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. The call for information came in response to a January letter from nine advocacy organizations and 16 state senators asking the Department to take action. In May, the auto insurance industry challenged the Department’s authority to collect and publish such information, but the vast majority of insurers, including all the major ones, complied.

    Illinois PIRG Education Fund will perform more detailed analysis of the new data over the summer.

Human Rights

 Authoritarian Regimes Have More 

Progressive Abortion Policies 

Than Some US States

    Washington, D.C. — (American Progress) - 7/8/2022 - Americans in states with regressive anti-abortion laws now have fewer human rights protections than those in countries criticized for their records on women’s rights, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.

    The column notes that compared to the more than 50 countries that have liberalized abortion laws since 1994, the United States has become only the fourth country to roll back those rights over the same time frame—joining El Salvador, Poland, and Nicaragua. And Americans in some states have even fewer rights than those in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, where abortion is limited but some exceptions are still allowed.

    “The extremist right wing attacks on abortion rights are dragging the United States down to the level of the same authoritarian regimes we often criticize,” said Osub Ahmed, associate director of Women’s Health and Rights at CAP. “As other countries have done in recent decades, we must now fight to undo abortion bans and expand access to abortion through legislative means or in the courts.”

    The column examines countries where abortion access has been expanded recently after tireless campaigns by activists who mobilized broad coalitions to generate public support for abortion rights. These recent changes in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ireland, and South Korea suggest ways that the United States could reverse course and protect abortion rights in the future.

    Read the column: “Authoritarian Regimes Have More Progressive Abortion Policies Than Some U.S. States” by Alexandra Schmitt, Osub Ahmed, Elyssa Spitzer, and Maggie Jo Buchanan

Church and State

New Florida Education Standards

 Promote White Christian

 Nationalism, Teacher Says

 

Americans United Files Brief with  

Florida Department of Education Seeking Documents


    WASHINGTON - (AU) - 7/1/2022 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State is launching an investigation into new Florida educational standards that reportedly promote white Christian Nationalism.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative (CLEI) and Florida educators recently attended a three-day training session to learn how to teach students the new material. “There was this Christian nationalism philosophy that was just baked into everything,” one teacher told the Miami Herald, which broke the story.

    The billion-dollar shadow network Americans United has been fighting in court and around the country seems to be involved in promoting the standards. Americans United’s investigation seeks to uncover the extent to which the training sessions were developed by the conservative Christian groups like Hillsdale College and the Koch-founded Bill of Rights Institute.

    During the training, slides shown to teachers describing the new curriculum called facts about our nation’s history “misconceptions,” including that “The Founders desired strict separation of church and state and the Founders only want to protect Freedom of worship” and “The American colonies were characterized by religious intolerance … and there was no religious liberty in America until the First Amendment.” During breakout sessions, the state’s presenters reportedly highlighted the influence of Jesus Christ and the Bible in the country’s foundation. The training also whitewashed the role of slavery in American history.

    In a public records request filed today with the Florida Department of Education, Americans United is demanding all documents, materials, contracts and audio or video recordings related to the CLEI trainings, and all department correspondence relating to the trainings, including communications with Hillsdale College.

    Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser said: “Americans United is considering all options. We’re not going to sit by while politicians smuggle white Christian Nationalism into public school curriculums under the guise of good citizenship. This is another attack in the long war religious extremists and their lawmaker allies have launched on our public schools, as is the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which shamefully takes effect in Florida today.

    “Our public schools suffered devastating blows at the Supreme Court over the last few weeks. First, the court forced Maine taxpayers to fund private religious education. Then, the court falsely described a coach’s coercive prayer as ‘personal’ and stopped public schools from protecting their students. In both cases, the court redefined the constitutional promise of religious freedom for all as religious privilege for a select few.

    “The state shouldn’t be indoctrinating students into Christian nationalism, but educating them about the separation of church and state, which is embedded in our Constitution because the founders recognized it is the only guarantee of religious freedom for all. What we need right now is a national recommitment to the separation of church and state.”

Civil Rights

Abortion Bans Temporarily 

Blocked in Five States

    WASHINGTON (ACLU) - 7/1/2022 - This week, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the federal constitutional right to abortion, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) took legal action to block abortion bans in 11 states: Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

    So far, these efforts have successfully blocked abortion bans in five states – Utah, Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas – through temporary restraining orders, allowing some providers there to resume abortion care for now.

Statement from Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU:

    “Millions of people in the U.S. are now being prevented from getting abortion care and are being forced into carrying pregnancies against their will. In the immediate aftermath, our focus has turned to state courts and state constitutions. Make no mistake, this is only the most recent salvo in a broader attack on our fundamental rights and liberties. Efforts to suppress the vote, and gut the electoral systems that undergird our democracy become even more important now that we must turn to the ballot box to restore abortion rights. It all hangs in the balance in 2022 and ultimately 2024.”

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

    “As we collectively grapple with the heartbreak and devastation of this ruling, Planned Parenthood remains committed first and foremost to our patients. We will leave no stone unturned in our battle to restore and protect abortion access for the millions who’ve had their right to bodily autonomy stripped away overnight. We know that every opportunity to defend abortion access will be critically important in a post-Roe environment, and every day that an injunction is in place is another day our patients can access care. We’re grateful to be working in coalition with groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU, our longstanding partners in the fight for reproductive rights, and hope that through our joint efforts across the country some relief can be granted. Our patients deserve nothing less, and we won’t back down.”

Statement from Nancy Northup, President & CEO, the Center for Reproductive Rights:


    “The effect of last week’s ruling has been swift and severe, with abortion services stopping immediately in many states. We are seeing the start of a public health crisis that will engulf the nation. But we knew this outcome was possible, and we have been preparing for this moment. Our immediate priority is to preserve access in every state for as long as we can. Every day and hour that a clinic can stay open is a victory for the patients in the waiting room. We have already seen abortion services restored in four states as a result of our collective legal efforts, and there will be more cases filed in the days to come. The clinics we represent are working non-stop to help as many patients as possible for as long as they can.”

    PPFA, ACLU, CRR, and local partners filed lawsuits in the following states:

  • Arizona: On June 25, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU asked a federal court to block Arizona’s personhood law as applied to abortion. A hearing is scheduled for July 8.

  • Florida: On June 1, the ACLU, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the law firm Jenner & Block filed a lawsuit bringing a state constitutional challenge to House Bill 5, a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy that threatens to put doctors in jail for providing essential care beyond that point. On June 30, a state court announced that it will issue an order blocking the ban.

  • Idaho: Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and Dr. Caitlin Gustafson filed a lawsuit in the Idaho Supreme Court against the state’s “trigger” ban on abortion at any point in pregnancy, which passed in 2020 and is scheduled to take effect later this summer. The lawsuit contends that the ban violates Idahoans’ rights to privacy and equal protection under the Idaho Constitution. The lawsuit also claims that the ban’s terms are so vague that medical providers will be unable to know when they are permitted to provide care for patients experiencing miscarriage or when they may provide an abortion needed to protect a patient’s life, risking the health and lives of Idahoans.

  • Kentucky: The ACLU, ACLU of Kentucky, and Planned Parenthood Northwest, HawaiĘ»i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky filed a state court challenge to block Kentucky’s two abortion bans, asserting the Kentucky Constitution protects the right to privacy and bodily autonomy. On Thursday, June 30, the court granted a restraining order to block the bans, allowing abortion services to resume in the state.

  • Louisiana: The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a case challenging Louisiana’s three separate trigger bans. On June 27, a state court temporarily blocked all three bans. A hearing for more permanent relief is set for July 8.

  • Mississippi: The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging Mississippi’s trigger ban and six-week ban in state court, arguing that the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion. A hearing is scheduled for July 5.

  • Ohio: The ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm WilmerHale filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to block the state’s six-week ban on abortion and to restore and further protect Ohioans’ reproductive rights secured by the Ohio Constitution. While a request for an emergency stay of the ban was denied, the case remains pending before the Ohio Supreme Court as the court considers the merits of the abortion providers' claims. Reproductive rights organizations will continue exploring all avenues to ensure Ohioans are able to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights.

  • Oklahoma: The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the law firm Dechert LLP, and attorney Blake Patton filed a lawsuit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeking to block the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, enacted in 1910, and a total abortion ban slated to take effect in August. The lawsuit asserts that the criminal abortion bans violate Oklahomans’ state constitutional rights to personal and bodily autonomy, health, and substantive due process.

  • Texas: The Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU, ACLU of Texas, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and Hayward PLLC filed a lawsuit in Texas state court seeking to block officials from enforcing the state’s antiquated pre-Roe abortion ban, which once banned abortion entirely but has been interpreted to be repealed and unenforceable. On Tuesday, June 28, the court granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking enforcement of the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban. The state has since asked the Supreme Court of Texas to block the lower court’s order.

  • Utah: Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit in Utah state court and requested a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the state’s trigger ban, which took effect on June 24. On Monday, June 27, the court granted that TRO, and PPAU immediately resumed providing abortion care. The lawsuit explains that the Utah Constitution protects pregnant Utahns’ rights to determine when and whether to have a family, and to determine what happens with their own bodies and lives.

  • West Virginia: The ACLU, ACLU of West Virginia, Mountain State Justice, and the Cooley law firm filed a lawsuit to prevent the enforcement of an archaic and cruel abortion ban in state court. The ban, passed in the 1800s, not only criminalized providing abortion care, but was also used to punish the person seeking the abortion and even their partners. Fear of prosecution under this outdated law has already forced the state’s only abortion clinic to suspend abortion services and turn away patients seeking essential care.

    Currently, at least nine states have banned or severely restricted abortion — Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas — and more are expected to do so in the coming days and weeks. Without Roe, as many as 26 states are poised to swiftly ban abortion, and the impact has already been widespread and devastating. Patients across the country with canceled appointments must now make other arrangements, and health centers in several states have already closed their doors. Hundreds of thousands of people are now forced to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles for care they should be able to get at home, seek abortion outside of the medical system, or carry pregnancies against their will.

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