Nebraska Judge Halts Abortion Screening Law Helping Women Get More Info
by Steven Ertelt
July 14, 2010
Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — A Nebraska judge has agreed with a request from abortion advocates to halt the implementation of a new screening law that helps women obtain more information about abortion risks.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit against a bill designed to help women get the kind of information on abortion’s risks and alternatives that it fails to provide.
The abortion business is challenging LB 594, the "Womens Health Protection Act" and complained the bill "imposes requirements that are both impossible to meet and require physicians to flood their patients with false and misleading information."
The new law tightens informed consent requirements that help women choose abortion alternatives. It helps women understand the physical, psychological, emotional, demographic or situational risk factors associated with an abortion.
U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp granted Planned Parenthood its request for a preliminary injunction against the law, saying it may have possibly made abortions illegal in Nebraska. The order prevents the state from enforcing the pro-life law until the lawsuit is decided.
"The effect of LB 594 will be to place substantial, likely insurmountable, obstacles in the path of women seeking abortions in Nebraska," Smith Camp said.
Smith Camp said the evidence shows her the law may make it more difficult for women to get abortions and said she is concerned abortion practitioners may be subject to crippling lawsuits, according to an AP report.
"The effect of LB 594 will be to place substantial, likely insurmountable, obstacles in the path of women seeking abortions in Nebraska," AP reported the judge saying. "Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence that the disclosures mandated by LB 594, if applied literally, will require medical providers to give untruthful, misleading and irrelevant information to patients."
Jill June, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, hailed the ruling.
Shannon Kingery, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, told AP the state would respect the order and continue to defend the law in court.
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman signed the bill into law in April after the unicameral Nebraska legislature approved it 44-5.
He said the bill, and another educating women on the pain their unborn child will feel during an abortion, is " important legislation for Nebraska and I want to thank both senators for their thoughtful approach to this issue."
Women are suffering from avoidable physical and psychological complications that may have been prevented or minimized had they received adequate pre-abortion screening and counseling, Sen. Cap Dierks, who introduced LB 594, said at the time of the bill signing. Women deserve better. LB 594 will ensure that women receive the appropriate standard of care.
Abortion advocates complained about the lack of a mental health exception in the bill even though studies repeatedly show abortions cause mental health problems for women more so than women who carry their pregnancy to term.
LB 594 allows for civil lawsuits against abortion practitioners who fail to screen women for risk factors of abortion or to inform them of the potential complications of the abortion procedure.
LeRoy Carhart, who does abortions and late-term abortions at his Omaha-based abortion facility, called the bill "yet another piece of anti-choice legislation that does nothing but hinder a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion care."
But the Nebraska Catholic Conference says it is abortion business like Planned Parenthood that "have compromised the standard of care for counseling and screening of patients in order to reduce costs and maximize profits."
"In hundreds of cases each day, known risk factors for physical and psychological complications are not being detected because of negligent pre-abortion screening," it says. "Women are suffering from avoidable physical and psychological complications that may have been prevented or minimized if the proper pre-abortion screening standards had been met."
The bill does not impose any requirements on abortion providers that are contrary to the standard of care for screening which applies to other medical procedures.
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