Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Abortion Rights Proponents Win In 4 Cases

A series of abortion rights rulings were handed down in the last few days:

In Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Kemp, (ND GA, July 13, 2020), a Georgia federal district court permanently enjoined enforcement of Georgia's Living Infants Fairness and Equality (“LIFE”) Act which prohibits abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat and recognizes unborn children as "natural persons."  Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.

In Memphis Center for Reproductive Health v. Slatery, (MD TN, July 13, 2020), a Tennessee federal district court issued a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of two bans on pre-viability abortions. One bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. The other bans pre-viability abortions sought because of the race or sex of the fetus, or because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. ACLU issued a press release announcing the decision.

In American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (D MD, July 13, 2020), a Maryland federal district court issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement during the COVID-19 public health emergency of in-person requirements that barred women seeking a medical abortion from obtaining mifepristone through a mail-order or retail pharmacy or to receive the medication by mail from their healthcare provider. The court concluded:
in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the In-Person Requirements cause an undue burden in violation of the Constitution, imposing a substantial obstacle on a large fraction of the relevant women seeking a medication abortion.
AP reports on the decision.

In Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Inc. v. Azar, (D MD, July 10, 2020), a Maryland federal district court enjoined implementation of HHS' "separate billing rule" which would have complicated the billing for abortion coverage in health insurance policies offered through state exchanges. As explained by the court:
HHS proposed that issuers would need to send two separate bills to the policyholder to comply with § 1303 (one bill for the portion of the premium attributable to non-Hyde abortion coverage and one for the rest of the premium), and instruct the policyholder to pay the premium attributable to non-Hyde abortion coverage in a separate transaction.
Health Affairs reports on the decision.