BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the right of Texas residents, as well as those visiting the state for school, work or vacation, to travel to other states to access or provide safe and legal abortions.
The brief, filed today Fund Texas Choice et al. v. Ken Paxon et al., argues that an individual’s constitutional right to interstate travel is at risk due to Texas’ anti-abortion laws, and that interference with that right poses a substantial threat to the liberty and safety of those individuals, some of whom may need to leave the state under urgent circumstances. Texas’ laws not only deprive its residents of access to the reproductive care they may need within Texas’ borders, but also, as Texas lawmakers have indicated, seek to impede an individual’s ability to travel access state lines to obtain an abortion, provide an abortion, or to support a patient in need of an abortion. The brief argues that while Texas may regulate abortion within its borders, intruding on the right to interstate travel, including for abortion, is illegal.
“Following Dobbs, we made a commitment to ensure that patients from across the country can access abortion and to protect providers offering that care,” AG Healey said. “Interstate travel is a constitutional right and we are going to do everything we can to protect access to critical health care.”
Fund Texas Choice et al. v. Ken Paxton et al. was filed by a group of reproductive health advocacy organizations – Fund Texas Choice, Jane’s Due Process, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Clinic Access Support Network, The Afiya Center, West Fund, and OB-GYN Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi. Today’s brief supports the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to block several of Texas’ anti-abortion laws. According to the motion, Dr. Moayedi is seeking to travel out-of-state to provide abortion services in states where abortions are legal, and the organizations are seeking to support individuals in Texas seeking to travel out-of-state to obtain reproductive care.
The brief argues that while Texas may regulate abortion within its borders, intruding on the right to interstate travel, including for abortion, is unlawful. The coalition states have thousands of residents living in Texas to attend college or graduate school, or for work, and millions of others visit the state each year, and as such, the states want to ensure their residents can leave Texas and return to their home states to access time-sensitive, legal and safe medical care. As states that are committed to protecting access to reproductive healthcare, the coalition states are also seeking to preserve the right to travel for millions of individuals that live in states with restrictive abortion laws like Texas’ and for whom travel to seek an abortion is critical.
In July, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care, which includes protections for healthcare workers who provide abortion services to patients living outside the state—both those who travel to Massachusetts for care, and those who receive care in their home states from Massachusetts providers via telemedicine.
Joining AG Healey in filing today’s amicus are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Washington, D.C.