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Lawsuit Filed Against Anti-Choice NE Law

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an anti-choice Nebraska law that is scheduled to go into effect on July 15. The law (see PDF). restricts women’s access to abortion by requiring a doctor or other health professional to screen women to determine whether or not they were pressured into having an abortion, as well as assess “any risk factors cited in peer-reviewed journals indexed by two major medical and scientific listing services during the year before a planned abortion.” These risk factors include “physical, psychological, emotional, demographic, or situational” factors. The law holds doctors civilly responsible if a screening fails to be comprehensive. The lawsuit names Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Attorney General Jon Bruning, and others as defendants, reported the Iowa Independent. It was filed in the federal district court in Lincoln, Nebraska. Critics of the law argue that it will be difficult to implement and may force physicians to provide irrelevant information to their patients. “The act would ban abortions in Nebraska by imposing, as a condition to performing lawful abortions, impossible, unintelligible, and unprecedented so-called ‘informed consent’ requirements on abortion providers that vastly stray from accepted and, indeed, good medical practice,” Planned Parenthood states in the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. The law was one of two controversial bills limiting women’s reproductive rights that Governor Heineman signed in spring. The new law reduced the latest point where abortion is legal to 20 weeks. Prior to the passage of the new law, Nebraska law restricted abortion after the age of viability, which occurs on a case-by-case basis, but is generally accepted to be between 22 and 24 weeks.

Sources:

Associated Press 6/28/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/13/10; Iowa Independent 6/28/10; Nebraska Legislature LB 594