Americans United for Life is pleased to share our 2022 Q3 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. Here are some notable cases included in the Report:
Drastic Changes Since Dobbs
The abortion litigation landscape has changed drastically in the aftermath of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Across the country, abortionists voluntarily are dismissing their federal court abortion litigation. State officials also have asked federal courts to lift injunctions, including the permanent injunctions against the Texas and Louisiana admitting privileges laws held unconstitutional under Casey’s undue burden standard in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo.
A federal district court granted a preliminary injunction against Idaho to enforce the EMTALA abortion mandate in United States of America v. State of Idaho on preemption grounds. In Texas, however, a district court granted a preliminary injunction for the State against the EMTALA abortion mandate because the statute does not discuss abortion and HHS did not follow the notice and comment requirements for administrative rulemaking.
Is There a State Constitutional Right to Abortion?
In ongoing litigation in at least eleven states, abortionists have argued the state constitution protects abortion. These states include Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Montana Supreme Court affirmed a preliminary injunction in a “minibus” case in Planned Parenthood of Montana v. Montana, which challenges the state’s 20-week gestational limit, chemical abortion, ultrasound viewing, and fetal heart tone provisions. Although the State raised a challenge to Armstrong’s state constitutional right to abortion, the court declined to revisit Armstrong at this stage of litigation.
Abortionists have asked the Florida Supreme Court to review Florida’s fifteen-week gestational limit in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. State of Florida. The case implicates In re T.W.’s state constitutional abortion right, and in earlier briefing, the State argued that “[Dobbs’] reasoning obliterates the foundation of the Florida Supreme Court’s abortion precedents, which heavily relied on Roe and its progeny in establishing a right to abortion under the Florida privacy clause.”
Other Notable Pro-Life Litigation
In Casey v. MinuteClinic Diagnostic of Virginia, LLC, a nurse practitioner has sued to assert her conscience rights, alleging she was terminated for conscientiously objecting to prescribing abortion-inducing drugs.
A federal district court has preliminarily enjoined California officials from forcing medical professionals who conscientiously object to assisted suicide to medically document a patient’s lethal drug request in Christian Medical & Dental Associations v. Bonta. The documentation would count as the first of two required requests under California’s End of Life Option Act, which means the conscientiously objecting physician assisted the patient’s suicide.
Assisted suicide proponents have challenged Vermont’s residency requirements in Bluestein v. Scott.