SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has joined 23 other attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting the US Department of Justice's challenge of a newly-minted Texas abortion law, one which essentially bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
The amicus brief, filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, supports the Justice Department's motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the new law.
According to Rosenblum's office, the Texas law contradicts almost 50 years of Supreme Court precedent affirming abortion as a constitutional right — precedent that the law seeks to circumvent by giving enforcement authority to private individuals instead of the state.
“This anti-abortion law is unequivocally unconstitutional. By turning private citizens into ‘bounty hunters’ targeting anyone, including medical professionals, who assists someone in obtaining an abortion, Texas is ignoring well-established legal rights and federal law. It is shocking that Texas would seek to skirt the constitution so blatantly, ” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “We are at a crucial moment in the fight to keep abortion accessible, safe and legal. As Oregon's attorney general, I am glad to be able to join this national fight for bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom."
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the Texas law's private enforcement structure produces an “across-the-board ban on constitutionally protected activity,” and that private enforcement does not shield the law from judicial review. They argue that failing to grant a preliminary injunction would cause "irreparable harm" to patients and clinics both in Texas and in surrounding states.
"The law also threatens the many people who help patients in Texas obtain access to an abortion by creating more than $10,000 in potential liability for anyone who so much as gives a patient a ride to a provider or otherwise helps," Rosenblum's office said. "The states are committed to shielding their residents and clinicians from these harms when they help a patient in Texas obtain constitutionally protected care."
In addition to Oregon, the amicus brief was joined by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.