Press Release

Attorney General Ellison defends women’s access to full range of reproductive healthcare

Joins 19 other AGs in filing amicus brief at 5th Circuit in support of women’s health clinic challenging Mississippi’s near-total ban on abortion

October 7, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined a coalition of 20 total attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a Mississippi women’s health clinic that is the last in that state to offer abortion services. In Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al., currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the plaintiff clinic is challenging Mississippi’s near-total ban on safe, legal abortion. Mississippi law S.B. 2116 makes it a criminal offense to perform an abortion after only six weeks of pregnancy. Many women do not know they are pregnant before six weeks.

Attorney General Ellison and the coalition assert that this law restricts women from exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability under Roe v. Wade. Further, they argue that contrary to Mississippi’s claims, this near-total ban would result in worse maternal health outcomes.

“Fundamental to living with dignity and respect is making your own choices about your own body. It matters to Minnesotans that Mississippi women have had this taken away from them. Everyone benefits when we protect all women’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” Attorney General Ellison said. 

The coalition argues that eliminating the option of safe and legal abortion leads to worse health and socioeconomic outcomes, limits women’s independence, and causes greater reliance on publicly-funded safety-net programs. The brief describes the different ways that states can and do promote women’s health without impeding women’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

Attorney General Ellison joined California Attorney General Becerra, who led the brief, and the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the amicus brief is available on the website of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.