Leading a coalition of 16 states, Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit explaining why Indiana’s reasonable licensing requirements for abortion clinics are constitutional. Indiana is appealing a U.S. District Court decision ordering the State to allow Whole Woman’s Health, which also operates clinics in Texas and other states, to open an unlicensed abortion clinic in South Bend.

Indiana, along with Texas and more than 20 other states, requires abortion clinics to be licensed like other surgical centers and medical clinics, which ensures continuous compliance with health and safety requirements. State licensing requirements are also common for nursing homes, eating disorder centers, mammography facilities, birthing centers, tattoo parlors, and tanning salons.

“If the states are prohibited from inspecting and regulating abortion clinics, women will suffer,” Attorney General Paxton said. “U.S. Supreme Court precedents make clear that the states can require abortion facilities to obtain a license without running afoul of the Constitution, and our coalition is hopeful the 7th Circuit will toss out the lower court’s misguided ruling in the Indiana case.”

As the brief recounts, numerous discoveries of dangerous abortion clinics over the years have prompted state oversight of these facilities to protect patients. One of the most horrifying cases involved Philadelphia-based Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder for killing babies born alive after attempted abortions. The conditions in his clinic were shockingly unsanitary and unsafe. It turned out that the state had not inspected his clinic for 15 years.    

In their brief, Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts told the 7th Circuit: “Whole Woman’s Health’s track record in Texas and other states demonstrates the reasonable need for Indiana to require WWH’s facility in South Bend to meet licensing requirements and be subjected to regulation, inspection, and oversight.”

Texas is joined in the friend-of-the-court brief by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

View a copy of the brief here.