Missouri Supreme Court Holds Hearings on Abortion Info Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Supreme Court Holds Hearings on Abortion Info Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 10, 2005

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday held hearings on a pro-abortion lawsuit challenging a state law that would make sure abortion centers give women abortion abortion’s risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to performing one.

The law was placed on hold after a separate pro-abortion lawsuit challenged it in federal courts. It would require abortion practitioners to give women information about "risk factors, including any physical, psychological or situational factors for the proposed procedure."

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region filed suit against the Right to Know law in state court in June 2004.

Their suit claims the language in the law is vague and violates the state constitution. They say the law would pose an "undue burden" on women’s access to abortion, especially in abortion centers that don’t perform abortions daily.

In oral arguments before the court, Planned Parenthood attorney Mimi Liu claimed the abortion businesses would have to get into various issues unrelated to abortion because of the new law.

"Even after hours of counseling, physicians will not know whether they have fulfilled the law’s requirements," she claimed, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report.

Victorine Mahon, a lawyer for the state, argued that wasn’t the case because the language of the statute doesn’t prohibit abortion practitioners from giving information they feel is best for a woman to know beforehand.

"Maybe this isn’t the best statute, but I don’t think that means it has to be unconstitutional," she said, according to the Dispatch report.

Court Chief Justice Michael Wolff questioned Liu’s assertion that abortion practitioners would be aggressively prosecuted for minor deviations from the information the state wants presented.

U.S. District Judge Scott Wright issued a temporary restraining order against the law in the federal case and the state appealed that to a federal appeals court, which has not yet ruled. If the state Supreme Court rules against the law, the federal challenge would be moot, but Planned Parenthood officials say they will continue with that lawsuit.

The abortion information measure became law in September 2003 after the state legislature override a veto by former Gov. Bob Holden.