The Center for Reproductive Rights has been working to protect access to abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We've filed numerous lawsuits challenging state orders to limit abortion access and have developed several fact sheets addressing the unique reproductive health issues during the pandemic.
Please click on the "Resources" tab on the right to access our COVID-19 fact sheets and the individual state tabs to find out about the status of each lawsuit.
Summary of the COVID-19 Lawsuits
The flurry of lawsuits filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners are succeeding in protecting access to abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuits challenge orders by anti-abortion lawmakers blocking or limiting access to abortion care during the pandemic, arguing that the states are imposing unconstitutional bans on abortion by claiming that abortion is non-essential health care. The Center and its partners filed the suits in March and April 2020 challenging orders in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Iowa and Ohio.
Filed on behalf of abortion providers, the lawsuits are part of a multi-state effort to challenge those state abortion restrictions to ensure that patients can continue to access essential, time-sensitive abortion care during the pandemic.
"These emergency abortion bans are an abuse of power and part of an ongoing effort to use sham justifications to shut down clinics and make an end run around Roe v. Wade," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "These same states have tried to ban abortion access for years; no one should be fooled that this is warranted by the current crisis. We will use every legal means to ensure that abortion care remains available during this critical time."
In the most recent decisions in late April 2020, abortion care was allowed to resume in Oklahoma, when an appellate court denied the state's request to stay a lower court ruling; in Tennessee, when an appellate court affirmed a lower court injunction; and in Texas, when the state agreed to resume abortion care in full.
According to the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, abortion is an essential, time-sensitive procedure, and delaying this care could "profoundly impact a person's life, health, and well-being." Both groups filed an amicus brief in the Texas case, stating that an abortion ban "is likely to increase, rather than decrease, burdens on hospitals and use of PPE. At the same time, it will severely impair essential health care for women, and it will place doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in an untenable position by criminalizing necessary medical care."
Please refer to the individual case pages for details and filings on each case.