Americans United for Life is pleased to share a post-Dobbs addendum to our 2022 Q2 Life Litigation Report. The only comprehensive listing of pro-life litigation publicly available, this Report tracks major Life cases across the country in federal and state courts. The goal of the Report is to provide a useful resource in addition to AUL’s expertise on legal and policy issues affecting Life. See the full report here, or see some notable cases included in the Report:
Dobbs’ Impact on Abortion Litigation
After a contentious forty-nine-year struggle, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the abortion issue to the democratic process in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Americans United for Life has analyzed Dobbs’ impact upon abortion litigation in The Attorney General’s Playbook for a Post-Roe World.
In light of Dobbs, the Supreme Court granted, vacated, and remanded Arizona’s prenatal nondiscrimination lawsuit, Isaacson v. Brnovich, Arkansas’ prenatal nondiscrimination lawsuit, Rutledge v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, and Indiana’s parental involvement lawsuit, Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky.
Federal Court Abortion Litigation
Dobbs sounded the death knell for abortion litigation in the federal courts. With Roe gone, there is no federal right or interest in abortion. Across the nation, federal courts have lifted injunctions against life-affirming laws. Parties similarly have moved to dismiss abortion lawsuits due to mootness after Dobbs conclusively established that neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor any other constitutional provision protects abortion.
Litigation continues over “personhood” provisions in Arizona in Isaacson v. Brnovich and Georgia in SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Kemp. The personhood provisions recognize that unborn children are legal “persons” entitled to protection under their respective state laws.
The State of Texas has sued the United States Department of Health and Human Services over the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) abortion mandate in State of Texas v. Becerra. The abortion mandate requires hospitals and emergency medicine physicians to perform abortions in certain circumstances.
State Court Updates
In Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed its 2018 decision that contrived a fundamental right to abortion under the state constitution. Litigation continues over what litigation standard the state courts should adopt for abortion lawsuits.
Abortionists have filed a flurry of litigation against pre-Roe laws in Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and conditional laws in Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Utah. However, abortionists voluntarily dismissed the Mississippi lawsuit after the abortion business was sold and the lawsuit had no legal basis to proceed.
State judiciaries have become battlegrounds over whether state constitutions protect abortion as a “right.” There is a pro-life challenge to Montana’s concocted state abortion right in Planned Parenthood of Montana v. Montana. The lawsuit challenging Florida’s 15-week gestational limit in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. State of Florida also implicates a prior state case that manufactured an abortion right. Abortionists have urged state courts to devise state constitutional protections for abortion in other states, including Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah.