COURT BRIEF

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Alabama Amici Curiae Against Late Term Abortions

The State’s interest in safeguarding maternal health is particularly compelling when abortions are contemplated or performed later in pregnancy. That interest is implicated in so-called “dismemberment” abortions, a procedure that can take place only after the first trimester when the unborn child has limbs and organs to dismember.

February 6, 2019

NO. 18-837

In the Supreme Court of the United States STEVEN T. MARSHALL, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ALABAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL, et al., Petitioners,

v.

WEST ALABAMA WOMEN’S CENTER, et al., Respondents.

On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE CHRISTIAN MEDICAL & DENTAL ASSOCIATIONS IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS

KRISTEN K. WAGGONER

JOHN BURSCH

KEVIN H. THERIOT Counsel of Record

DENISE BURKE, Alliance Defending Freedom, 15100 N. 90th Street Scottsdale, AZ 85260, (480) 444-0020, ktheriot@ADFlegal.org

DAVID A. CORTMAN

DENISE M. HARLE Alliance Defending Freedom, 1000 Hurricane Shoals Rd. N.E., Ste. D-1100 Lawrenceville, GA 30043, (770) 339-0774 Counsel for Amicus Curiae


INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE1

Christian Medical & Dental Associations (“CMDA”) is a nonprofit national organization of Christian physicians and allied healthcare professionals with over 19,000 members. In addition to its physician members, it has associate members from a number of allied health professions, including nurses and physician assistants. CMDA provides upto-date information on the legislative, ethical, and medical aspects of abortion and its impact on maternal health.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

The State of Alabama has “legitimate interests from the outset of pregnancy in protecting the health of women,” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992) (plurality opinion). That is because the “medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of an abortion are serious and can be lasting.” H.L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398, 411 (1981). The State’s interest in safeguarding maternal health is particularly compelling when abortions are contemplated or performed later in pregnancy. That interest is implicated in so-called “dismemberment” abortions, a procedure that can take place only after the first trimester, when the unborn child has limbs and organs to dismember.

It is undisputed that abortion has higher medical risks when the procedure is performed later in pregnancy. Medical studies have repeatedly concluded that later-term abortions pose more serious risks to women’s physical and mental health than first-trimester abortions. E.g., L. Bartlett et al., Risk factors for legal induced abortion-related mortality in the United States, OBSTET. & GYN. 103(4), 729 (2004); P.K. Coleman et al., Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, 2010 J. PREGNANCY 1, 7 (2010). Dismemberment abortions and other abortion procedures performed after the first trimester account for “a disproportionate amount of abortion-related morbidity and mortality.” E.M. Johnson, The Reality of Late-Term Abortion Procedures, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Jan. 20, 2015, at 6.

The medical evidence documenting the increased risks associated with later-term abortions is sufficient to support a comprehensive state ban on abortions in the second trimester. And it is more than sufficient to sustain a lesser abortion limitation, such as the Alabama law at issue here.

The Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, Ala. Code § 26-23G3(a), prohibits “a method of abortion that is clinically referred to as Dilation and Evacuation (D & E). Or 3 dismemberment abortion, as the State less clinically calls it. That name is more accurate because the method involves tearing apart and extracting pieceby-piece from the uterus what was until then a living unborn child. This is usually done during the 15 to 18 week stage of development, at which time the unborn child’s heart is already beating.” West Alabama Women’s Ctr. v. Williamson, 900 F.3d 1310, 1314 (11th Cir. 2018).

As noted, the Act implicates an abortion procedure performed exclusively after the first trimester. And the Act advances the State of Alabama’s interest in protecting maternal health and is supported by compelling and substantial medical evidence. Moreover, given the growing medical evidence of abortion’s harm to women, the constitutional validity of the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act is an important question of federal law that should be decided by this Court. For these reasons, Amicus urges this Court to grant certiorari and reverse the court of appeals.

 

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