by Steven Ertelt
November 17, 2005
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s injunction against a Missouri abortion law that requires abortion businesses to give women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives. However, the court modified the details of the injunction.
The appeals court ruled the district court judge issued the injunction too broadly and a -1 decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directs it to issue a modified injunction that would expire shortly after the Missouri Supreme Court issues a decision on the law in a separate case.
The law, approved by the state legislature overriding a veto by pro-abortion former Gov. Bob Holden, requires abortion practitioners to give the information to women 24 hours before the abortion procedure.
Those who violate the law by not giving women the abortion risk information face jail time and a $1,000 fine.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business challenged the law in both state and federal courts saying the requirements are unconstitutionally vague. It also contends the abortion practitioners could be prosecuted for very slight deviations from the requirements.
U.S. District Judge Scott Wright put the temporary injunction in place in June of last year and the state Supreme Court heard arguments this week but has not issued a ruling.
The appeals court said Wright’s injunction, which prevents state officials "from in any way enforcing" the law was more than necessary. It said the informed consent process was already validated by the U.S. Supreme Court and it said the Missouri health department should be allowed to put together a model of what kind of abortion risk information should be presented to women considering abortions.
Groups on both sides of the abortion debate told AP that they applauded the decision, but for different reasons.
"The best news for women in Missouri is that the preliminary injunction continues," said Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
Meanwhile, Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, told AP, "It’s going to allow the state to at least make some tentative steps forward in enforcing this law."