Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with 15 other state attorneys general, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to defend a Kentucky law that protects women’s health and safety. The state law, which was in existence for nearly 20 years before being overturned by a lower court last September, requires abortion clinics in Kentucky to maintain agreements with ambulances and hospitals to transport and transfer women in case of complications.
Following the lead of federal Medicare law, many states require facilities performing outpatient surgery to have transfer agreements with a nearby hospital in case an emergency occurs. But if the lower court’s decision is allowed to stand, states could be required to facilitate abortion by creating exceptions so that abortion doctors are not subject to the same law as other medical professionals.
EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Kentucky in 2017, claiming the state’s “transfer and transport” regulation unconstitutionally restricted the right to abortion. Previously, Kentucky informed EMW that its compliance with the law was deficient and did not offer certainty that a patient would receive a medically appropriate transfer in case of an emergency.
“The Constitution makes clear that states should be free to pass laws that are in the best interests of their citizens, and Kentucky’s lawmakers passed the common-sense ‘transfer and transport’ regulation over 20 years ago to protect women’s health,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Abortion doctors should be subject to the same laws and standards as any other doctor, and to argue otherwise shows that these groups do not have the best interests of women at heart.”
Texas is joined on the Indiana- and Ohio-led friend-of-the-court brief by Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia.
View a copy of the brief here.