WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of Saturday’s Rally for Abortion Justice in the District, Attorney General Karl A. Racine today sent a message to patients across the District and the country that if they need abortion care, they can safely and legally access it here.
As some states have passed legislation limiting access to reproductive rights or banning abortion – as Texas’ law, SB 8, would do – AG Racine is making sure patients understand they can access the counseling, support, and medical care they need in the District.
“In the District, we value reproductive rights, and we are open for care to those who live here and those traveling from other states. You are welcome here and we will protect patients who access abortion care here,” said AG Racine. “Laws stripping patients of their rights, like the Texas abortion ban, do not apply to patients getting care here or to anyone in the District helping patients get care. As some states like Texas put in place abortion bans and restrict access to reproductive care, the District is standing up for patients, and enacted strong legislation enabling residents to make their own reproductive health decisions. Texas’ unconstitutional law should be overturned, and as we fight it and other abortion restrictions in the courts, Saturday’s march will be a clear reminder to leaders and our country that reproductive rights matter.”
“As an ob/gyn and provider of abortion care for communities in and around DC, I have the honor of being in a community with other providers of reproductive health care across the country. The stress and strain that SB 8 has placed on patients accessing abortion and providers of abortion care in Texas and in states surrounding Texas and beyond is catastrophic,” said Dr. Jamila Perritt, obstetrician-gynecologist and provider of abortion care in DC and President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health. “We are in a new terrain, but let me be clear: abortion care is still legal for anyone in the District. Texas’s restrictive and dangerous ban on abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy has been devastating for patients in need of timely, essential abortion care in their state. Those with resources have been seeking care in surrounding states while even more patients are forced to carry their pregnancies to term despite their desire not to do so. This is not okay. Everyone should be able to access the care they need in their communities, including abortion care. The law was carefully crafted to confuse, intimidate, and shame people accessing abortions and health care professionals providing that care. We must continue making it clear that abortion care is a normal and necessary piece of comprehensive reproductive health care and attacks on bodily autonomy cannot stand.”
In 2020, the District of Columbia Council passed legislation that became law protecting the ability of everyone in the District to make their own reproductive health decisions without government interference.
Background on AG Racine’s work to advocate for reproductive rights
Earlier this month, AG Racine and a coalition of 24 attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s challenge to Texas’ unconstitutional six-week ban on abortions. Last week, AG Racine and 23 other attorneys general filed an amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing against Mississippi’s abortion ban. They called on the court to uphold its precedent protecting a woman’s right to decide before viability whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
AG Racine has a long record advocating for reproductive rights and justice. Last year, AG Racine and six other attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from threatening access to safe and legal abortion care for individuals who purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s state health care exchanges. AG Racine also challenged the Trump administration’s actions that prevented some immigrant women from accessing abortion care while in federal custody. In 2017, he and 15 other attorneys general filed an amicus brief challenging an Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood and other health service providers that perform or refer for abortions.