by Steven Ertelt
September 27, 2005
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A second Missouri judge has put a hold on a new Missouri law that would reduce abortions by helping teenagers and women who suffer from botched abortions. Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell issued a temporary restraining order after another judge had done the same thing.
Judge Atwell claimed the law was a violation of free speech because it prohibits abortion facility staff or other adults apart from a minor teen’s parents from taking her to another stat for a secret abortion.
He also said the law threatens irreparable harm to Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses because the law requires them to have hospital privileges at a local medical facility within 30 miles of the abortion business. That would make sure women who suffer from botched abortions can receive immediate emergency medical care.
The law allows parents to sue people who "intentionally cause, aid or assist" their teen daughters in having an abortion without their consent.
Atwell’s ruling, which applies only to the civil liability section of the law, is similar to the one by federal Judge Nanette Laughery, who granted a Springfield abortion businesses’ request for a temporary restraining order.
During a hearing last week, Assistant Attorney General John Roodhouse told Atwell threat a restraining order isn’t needed because "plaintiffs in this case would [not] be immediately harmed."
Eve Gartner, a staff attorney for Planned Parenthood, said women seeking abortions would be harmed because the law could delay when they have an abortion, making it more dangerous.
She also argued that even talking to teenagers about an abortion could put the abortion centers at risk of a potential lawsuit. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has 13 centers and eight in Missouri.
Springfield Healthcare Center, an abortion facility, said in its lawsuit that the new law would force it to close.
The abortion practitioner at Springfield Healthcare Center is not allowed to practice medicine at any local hospital. That would jeopardize the lives of women who are injured by an abortion and need emergency medical attention that the abortion facility can’t provide.
Pro-life state Sen. John Loudon (R), who sponsored the bill, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch the ruling is "classic judicial activism," but he said he’s confident it will ultimately stand up in courts.
Gov. Matt Blunt spokesperson Jessica Robinson added, "We stand by this good pro-life law that will reduce the number of abortions in our state and look forward to debating its merits before the court."
Laughery has set a Nov. 7 federal court hearing on whether ot grant a permanent injunction.