by Steven Ertelt
October 28, 2005
Kansas City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri judge held hearings in an effort by abortion advocates to overturn a new law intended to reduce the number of abortions there. The judge sided with abortion advocates who claimed the law would violate their free speech rights and suspended enforcement of it.
The law, which, in part, requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, is already responsible for shutting down an abortion facility in Springfield.
After a Thursday hearing, Circuit Judge Charles Atwell granted a request for a temporary injunction and said he would render a full decision by November 9.
During the hearings, Atwell heard arguments from Eve Gartner, representing Planned Parenthood, and Assistant Attorney General Vickie Mahon. They debated just a few words of the statute, which also prohibits anyone other than a minor teen’s parents from taking her to another state for an abortion.
The two attorneys argued over part of the bill which says parents can file lawsuits against those who "intentionally cause, aid or assist" teens in getting secret abortions out of state.
Gartner said the abortion business was worried that the words could be construed to cover any abortion counseling done by Planned Parenthood.
"This law would prohibit us from doing what we do every day," she said, according to an AP report. "There’s a chilling effect on our speech."
But Mahon said it was unfair to examine just one passage of the law and she urged Judge Atwell to look at the legislature’s intent, which wasn’t to cover all abortion counseling.
"You can’t piecemeal this and cut it up and look at ‘aid and assist’ by itself," she said. "You have to employ common sense in what was the legislature’s intent."
Mahon said that the kind of counseling that would come under the statute would be advice given by Planned Parenthood to teens to encourage them to go to another state for an abortion to violate Missouri’s parental notification law.