Women, Paul Weiss Step Up to Support Abortion Rights at SCOTUS

Dec. 3, 2019, 7:43 PM

Hundreds of women who have had abortions joined multiple groups in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

In an unusual move, 368 female legal professionals—including retired judges, prosecutors, public defenders, professors, law students, and a senior Department of Justice attorney—joined a friend of the court brief to emphasize the “importance of the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion.”

Speaking for themselves and for the one-in-four American women who have terminated pregnancies, the women said forced pregnancies and childbirth would impose great harm on women’s lives. The reproductive rights established by the Supreme Court “must not be abrogated or regulated out of existence,” their Dec. 2 brief said.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP represented the lawyers.

Most of the women signed their names to the brief, as did the majority of 11 women who signed on to a separate brief supporting June Medical Services LLC in its effort to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that upheld the Louisiana law. The women shared their abortion experiences and their conviction that their lives would have changed dramatically if the procedure had been forbidden to them.

Seventy-two women’s rights groups joined in a brief led by the National Women’s Law Center. The Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Women’s Law Project also filed a joint brief.

Twenty-seven friend of the court briefs supporting the abortion provider were filed Dec. 2.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP represented the 11 women. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP assisted the NWLC. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP represented the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The case is June Med. Servs. LLC v. Gee, U.S., No. 18-1323, briefs filed 12/2/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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