(REVISED 8.25.2017) This case is a challenge to medically unnecessary Alaska restrictions, passed more than 40 years ago, that ban abortion in outpatient health centers after the first trimester of pregnancy. The restrictions force many women to travel out of state for procedures—if they can obtain them at all.
This lawsuit was one of three simultaneous new challenges filed on the same day by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU to challenge medically unnecessary abortion restrictions in Alaska, Missouri, and North Carolina. Following the United States Supreme Court's landmark decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Center's lawsuit which struck down two Texas laws that devastated access to abortion in the state, abortion restrictions have been blocked in states around the country.
This new wave of litigation will continue to protect and expand access to abortion.
“Today’s filing is a major step in the fight to ensure all women can get safe and legal abortions in their own communities, when they need them,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are a nation of laws, and the Center is prepared to use the full force of the law to ensure women’s fundamental rights are protected and respected. We are proud to stand with our partners in challenging these unconstitutional measures and vow to continue the fight for women’s health, equality, and dignity”
Plaintiff(s): Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands Center
Attorney(s): Janet Crepps
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Susan Orlansky, Reeves Amodio LLC, Hannah Brass Greer, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Carrie Flaxman, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Foundation, Tara A. Rich &, Eric Glatt, ACLU of Alaska Foundation
The Center for Reproductive Rights—along with the ACLU, the ACLU of Alaska, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands—filed a lawsuit on November 30, 2016 in state court challenging long-standing Alaska restrictions that prohibits abortion in outpatient health centers after the first trimester of pregnancy. These medically unnecessary restrictions often force women to travel outside of the state to seek care, if they are able to obtain an abortion at all.
On January 4, 2017, we filed our request for a preliminary injunction. On January 25, the parties agreed to put the case on hold while the Alaska State Medical Board updated the challenged regulations. The revised regulations then became final that summer, permitting second trimester abortion care to be provided in an outpatient setting in Alaska for the very first time. This case is now concluded.