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September 23, 2022

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL JOINS COALITION IN PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO INTERSTATE TRAVEL TO SEEK ABORTIONS

Raoul Argues Texas’ Laws Violate Individuals’ Constitutional Right to Interstate Travel

Chicago  — Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to protect the right of individuals to travel out of Texas to obtain an abortion.The multi-state amicus brief was submitted in Fund Texas Choice v. Paxton, in support of a motion for preliminary injunction submitted by reproductive rights advocates seeking to halt enforcement of several Texas anti-abortion laws.

Raoul and the coalition argue that Texas residents, as well as coalition state residents visiting or attending school in Texas, have the right to travel to pro-reproductive rights states to access legal abortions.

“The Texas laws unconstitutionally infringe on the right to travel and to obtain safe, legal health care in states like Illinois that protect abortion rights,” Raoul said. “Illinois remains a proud reproductive health care oasis that respects women’s bodily autonomy and fundamental rights. Now more than ever, I will continue to advocate for the right to access reproductive health care in Illinois and across the country.”

As a state that is committed to protecting access to reproductive health care, Raoul said Illinois has a profound interest in preserving the right to travel for the millions of individuals living in states with restrictive abortion laws. He and the coalition say that interference with the right to interstate travel poses a substantial threat to the liberty and safety of those individuals, some who may need to leave Texas under urgent circumstances. 

Texas’ anti-abortion laws deprive Texas residents from being able to access the reproductive care they need within Texas’ borders. Additionally, Texas lawmakers have indicated they are seeking to impede an individual’s ability to travel across state lines to obtain an abortion, to provide an abortion, or to support a patient in need of an abortion.

Raoul argues that while Texas may regulate abortion within its borders, intruding on the right to interstate travel, including for abortion, is unlawful. Along with residents from the other coalition states, Illinois residents live in Texas to attend college, go to graduate school, serve in the military or serve as temporary workers. Illinois residents also enter Texas as visitors each year, so Raoul has a significant interest in ensuring those residents may leave Texas and return to Illinois to access time-sensitive, lawful and safe medical care, including abortions.

Raoul’s brief supports a group of abortion funds and providers who seek to travel to other states to provide legal abortion services or to provide logistical support for people in Texas who want to access reproductive care in states where it is legal. But they fear financial ruin or prosecution for assisting individuals seeking legal abortion as a result of Texas’ anti-abortion laws.

Joining Attorney General Raoul in submission of the amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

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