Planned Parenthood Sues to Overturn North Carolina Ban on Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 30, 2016   |   5:04PM   |   Charlotte, NC

Planned Parenthood and a group of abortion practitioners filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging North Carolina’s 20-week abortion limit, the Charlotte Observer reports.

The law, which protects unborn babies from abortions after 20 weeks, has been in effect for several decades, but state lawmakers amended the law in 2015 to define “emergency” situations when abortions are allowed after 20 weeks, according to the report.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion doctors said the new definitions are too narrow and restrict their rights. Included in the lawsuit are the abortion chain’s South Atlantic affiliate, Dr. Amy Bryant, Dr. Beverly Gray and Dr. Elizabeth Deans, according to the report.

“The 20-week ban presents physicians with an untenable choice: face criminal prosecution for providing medical care in accordance with their best medical judgment, or refuse to provide the critical care their patients seek,” the lawsuit states.

Here’s more from the report:

The amendment, which went into effect in January of this year, allows for abortions 20 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period to “avert her death” or “for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

The amendment further specifies that doctors may not consider “psychological or emotional conditions” that might lead to her death or result in bodily harm.

North Carolina lawmakers have been working hard to make sure the abortion industry is following state laws. On Jan. 1, another state law went into effect, requiring abortion doctors to submit ultrasound images and measurements of babies who are aborted at 16 weeks or later to the state. North Carolina lawmakers passed the measure to ensure that abortion facilities were complying with its 20-week abortion ban.

The new lawsuit is part of a larger attack by abortion activists this week. Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union also filed lawsuits challenging abortion laws in Alaska and Missouri, NBC reports.

ACLU director Jennifer Dalvern described them as “the first wave” of lawsuits, meaning more are likely to be filed in the future.

“You need real facts, not junk science, to prove these anti-abortion laws are necessary. All of these laws fail this test,” she told the Independent.

“There certainly are states that have better, or fewer unnecessary restrictions, and do what they can to protect abortion rights. But we think it’s important to ensure women can get the care they need, including insurance. Most states don’t cover insurance in their public medicaid programme.”

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The move is not wholly unexpected. Abortion activists vowed to continue legal action after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with them and overturned a Texas abortion law in June. The Texas law arguably was responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn babies by closing abortion clinics that were unable to meet the kinds of medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet.

The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and abortion activists are desperately trying to keep it that way. Despite what abortion activists claim, the laws that prohibit later-term abortions and those that require abortion facilities to meet basic health and safety standards are backed by strong scientific evidence and concerns about the well-being of women and children.