WASHINGTON, D.C. Today the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) filed a friend-of-the-court ( amicus ) brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of 24 national LGBTQ organizations in the case June Medical Services v. Gee. The case involves a challenge to a law in Louisiana that would force all but one abortion clinic in that state to close, a law that is virtually identical to one in Texas that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional just three years ago in the landmark case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.
The brief, filed by NCLR and fellow LGBTQ organizations, urges the Court to consider the broader impact of allowing states to force the closure of abortion clinics for unjustified reasons. Many reproductive health clinics offer, in addition to abortion care, affirming health care services vital to the LGBTQ community, including primary care and hormone therapy for transgender people. These health clinic services help to address health disparities experienced by LGBTQ people caused by still-pervasive discrimination in the health care system.
Also outlined in the brief is the disturbing parallel between states seeking to evade the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling and those looking to get around the 2016 Whole Woman's Health decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion.
In Pavan v. Smith, a case brought by NCLR and GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders ( GLAD ), the Supreme Court in 2017 summarily reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that blatantly ignored Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision affirming marriage equality nationwide. Arkansas had refused to put the names of both parents on a child's birth certificate if the parents were of the same sex, in direct violation of Obergefell's holding that states must grant to same-sex married couples all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities afforded to different-sex couples. The Supreme Court refused then to allow the state to flout its ruling, and it should do the same here.
NCLR Federal Policy Director Julianna Gonen issued the following statement: "The struggles for LGBTQ equality and reproductive freedom are inextricably linked. All people should be able to determine for themselves whom to marry, to live in accordance with their gender identity, and to decide whether and when to bear children.
These core freedoms, recognized by the Supreme Court as guaranteed by our Constitution, cannot be taken from us by state legislatures seeking to return us to the dark days of illegal abortion and LGBTQ people confined to the closet. The Court should tell Louisiana, and other states that might seek to follow its example, in no uncertain terms that it meant what it said in Whole Woman's Health, just as it meant what it said in Obergefell. When states fail in their attempts to strip fundamental rights from their citizens, they should not get a do-over."
—From a press release
The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org