Top Abortion-Rights Lawyer Confirmed To Be Appeals Court Judge

The Senate voted 51-43 to confirm Julie Rikelman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which has jurisdiction over 4 states in New England as well as Puerto Rico. She argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the Mississippi clinic in the Dobbs case that ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade.

The Wall Street Journal:
Senate Confirms Abortion-Rights Lawyer To U.S. Appeals Court 

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed abortion-rights lawyer Julie Rikelman to a U.S. appeals court, resolving a high-profile nomination by President Biden that had been pending nearly a year. Rikelman, 51 years old, will join the Boston-based First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over four northeastern states, plus Puerto Rico. She has worked as an advocate for abortion rights for more than a decade, most recently leading U.S. litigation for the Center for Reproductive Rights.  (Kusisto, 6/20)

The Abortion Rights Movement’s Top Supreme Court Lawyer Is Now A Federal Judge

Julie Rikelman is arguably the nation’s preeminent attorney representing the cause of abortion rights. She is almost certainly the most important pro-abortion rights litigator of her generation. And now she will serve as a federal appellate judge. Among other things, Rikelman made a doomed effort to save Roe v. Wade from a hostile Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center (2023). Three years earlier, in June Medical Services v. Russo (2020), she unexpectedly convinced conservative Chief Justice John Roberts to preserve abortion rights for a few years before the Court’s new 6-3 Republican majority eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion in Dobbs. (Milhiser, 6/20)

In other abortion news from the federal government —

The Sleeper Legal Strategy That Could Topple Abortion Bans 

As the nation nears the one year anniversary of the fall of Roe, a Missouri case is one of nearly a dozen challenges to abortion restrictions filed by clergy members and practitioners of everything from Judaism to Satanism that are now making their way through state and federal courts — a strategy that aims to restore access to the procedure and chip away at the assumption that all religious people oppose abortion. (Ollstein, 6/21)

Billboards, protests are planned later this week —

Abortion Rights Supporters And Opponents Mark One Year Without Roe V. Wade

Ahead of a rally set for Saturday in Washington, Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March activist organization, acknowledged the devastating blow dealt to reproductive rights by the Supreme Court’s reversal last year. “We are framing this to lift up the wins that we’ve had in the last year, but of course it’s a somber day for us,” Carmona said. (Harte, 6/20)

Abortion Again Dominates Ballot Box: Virginia Voters Oust ‘Pro-Life’ Democrat

Virginia state Sen. Joe Morrissey, a rare Democrat who supports limits on abortion access, lost to Lashrecse Aird, a “100%” supporter of abortion rights.” Also: A Supreme Court ruling gives South Carolina Republicans another chance to end public funding for Planned Parenthood, and New York passes a bill that provides more abortion protections.

Controversial Virginia State Senators, Including ‘Pro-Life’ Democrat, Ousted In Primary Election

A handful of Virginia incumbents prevailed over challengers in Tuesday’s primary election, but two of the state’s most controversial political figures — Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey and Republican Sen. Amanda Chase — lost their party’s nomination, along with at least three more of their Senate colleagues. Morrissey, a political centrist and increasingly rare Democrat who supports limits on abortion access, lost to former state legislator Lashrecse Aird, an unapologetic, “100%” supporter of abortion rights. (Rankin, 6/21)

Abortion Still Dominates Democratic Politics: 3 Takeaways From Virginia’s Primary Night 

Aird’s victory is just the latest in a series of small but significant data points that show Democratic voters are still motivated by abortion rights at the ballot box. Earlier this year, Democrats flipped a state Senate seat in Virginia after a campaign that drew outsized attention from both pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion groups. And Wisconsin saw unrivaled turnout in an April state Supreme Court race that was very much about abortion. (Montellaro, 6/20)

More abortion news from South Carolina, New York, Kansas, and Kentucky —

CBS News:
New York Passes Bill To Protect Doctors For Out-Of-State Telehealth Abortion Pill Prescriptions

The New York State Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that would legally protect New York doctors who prescribe abortion pills to patients living in states where the procedure has been outlawed. The bill passed the New York State Assembly by a 99 to 45 margin, and cleared the state Senate last month by a vote of 39 to 22. It has now been sent to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is expected to sign it into law. (Mandler, 6/20)

Kansas Won’t Enforce Its New Law On Medication Abortions For At Least 5 Weeks

Kansas officials have agreed not to enforce a new restriction on medication abortions for at least five weeks before a state court judge decides whether to put it on hold until he decides a lawsuit challenging it and other existing rules. Providers and their attorneys announced the agreement Tuesday. For now, providers won’t have to tell patients that they can stop a medication abortion using a regimen that providers and major medical groups consider unproven and potentially dangerous. The new rule was set to take effect July 1. (Hanna, 6/20)

Abortion Rights Groups Drop Suit Challenging Kentucky’s Ban But Continue Legal Fight 

Abortion-rights groups filed a court motion Tuesday to dismiss their lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban but signaled that the legal fight is far from over. The groups’ strategy will focus on the next legal challenge expected to come from pregnant women who were denied abortion services in Kentucky. “We will be back in court when we have a patient plaintiff,” Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky state director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said in a statement. (Schreiner, 6/21)

From Missouri and Mississippi —

Missouri Judge Orders End To GOP Officials’ Standoff Over Proposed Abortion Rights Ballot Measure

A constitutional amendment to restore abortion rights in Missouri will move forward after a judge on Tuesday broke a standoff between two Republican officials that had halted the process. Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem ordered Attorney General Andrew Bailey to approve fellow Republican Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick’s estimated $51,000 price tag on the proposal within 24 hours. Bailey had refused to approve the price estimate, arguing that if the proposal were to succeed, it could cost the state as much as a million times more than that figure because of lost Medicaid funding or lost revenue that wouldn’t be collected from people who otherwise would be born. (Ballentine, 6/20)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Survey Shows Missourians Don’t Know If Birth Control Is Legal

Many Missourians are confused about the legality of birth control in the state and worried about future access, according to results released Tuesday of a survey of more than 1,000 residents. One in four Missourians do not believe or know that birth control pills are legal in the state, the survey found. More than half — 53% — do not believe or do not know that emergency contraception is legal; and 40% do not believe or know that intrauterine devices (IUDs) are legal. (Munz, 6/20)

On abortion care providers —

ABC News:
Majority Of OBGYNs Believe Overturning Roe Led To More Maternal Deaths: Survey

A majority of OBGYNs say the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer is linked to more maternal deaths, according to a new survey released early Wednesday from KFF. The decision — known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — determined there is no constitutional right to an abortion and gave individual states full power to regulate abortion. Since then, at least 15 states have ceased nearly all abortion services, according to an ABC News tally. (Kekatos, 6/21)

Medical Residents Must Travel For Abortion Training Post-Dobbs

Abortion restrictions are forcing some medical residents to travel out-of-state to learn how to perform an abortion as a part of their medical training. Some states tightened abortion restrictions and banned the procedure in response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, forcing both providers and patients to travel further distances for care and training. (Dreher, 6/21)


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