Americans United for Life is pleased to share our 2023 Q1 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:
State Constitutional Abortion “Rights”
The Idaho Supreme Court held there is no state constitutional right to abortion in Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky v. State of Idaho, but the South Carolina Supreme Court devised a right to abortion under the state constitution’s privacy clause in Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. State of South Carolina.
In EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C. v. Cameron, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the dissolution of the preliminary injunction, holding the abortionists lacked third-party standing, but kept the issue open of whether the state constitution extends to abortion.
The New Mexico Attorney General filed a mandamus action in the New Mexico Supreme Court, seeking to devise a state constitutional right to abortion in State of New Mexico ex rel. Raul Torrez v. Board of County Commissioners for Lea County.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court likely will issue a decision soon in Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, in which abortionists have alleged a state constitutional right to equal funding of abortion.
Chemical Abortion Takes Center Stage in the Federal Courts
The country is awaiting a ruling on the motion for a preliminary injunction in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in which pro-life doctors and medical organizations have challenged the FDA’s approval and deregulation of chemical abortion drugs.
An abortionist filed a challenge to North Carolina’s chemical abortion health and safety laws, alleging the FDA’s approval and regulation of the drugs preempts pro-life state laws in Bryant v. Stein.
Pro-abortion states have filed a lawsuit, challenging the 2023 chemical abortion REMs as too “restrictive” in Ferguson v. State of Washington.
In Sisters for Life, Inc. v. Louisville-Jefferson County, KY Metro Government, the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded the denial of a preliminary injunction against a buffer zone law.
A district court has granted a Rule 60(b) motion to lift the permanent injunction against Texas’ admitting privileges law, which the Supreme Court had held unconstitutional in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
The Texas Supreme Court held a pro-life advocate’s statements that abortion fund groups are “criminal organizations” are protected speech in Dickson v. The Afiya Center and The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity v. Dickson, and the abortion fund organizations’ defamation lawsuits were entitled to dismissal under state law.
In a pro-life challenge to city budget allocations of taxpayer money to abortion-assistance organizations in Zimmerman v. City of Austin, the Texas Supreme Court vacated the grant of the plea to the jurisdiction and remanded for further proceedings.
In United States of America v. Handy, a pro-life defendant filed a motion to dismiss a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act case for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the FACE Act is predicated on a violation of a constitutional right, but Dobbs recognized there is no constitutional right to abortion. The district court subsequently ordered briefing on whether any other constitutional provision confers a right to abortion.
Suicide activists have appealed the grant of the motion to dismiss their complaint in Shavelson v. Bonta, in which they alleged, under federal disability rights laws, that the California End of Life Option Act requires active euthanasia of persons with disabilities.
Abortionists have challenged West Virginia abortion health and safety provisions under a rational basis theory in Women’s Health Center of West Virginia v. Sheth.