Nebraska Attorney General Hesitant to Defend Abortion Restrictions

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said late last week that he is not prepared to exhaust all legal options to defend a state law requiring women to undergo a mental health examination prior to receiving an abortion. According to the Associated Press, Bruning said Friday during an interview on a local radio station that he was unsure if the lengthy and expensive appeals process required to keep the law was worth the time and resources. He said, “Despite the fact I’m very pro-life, I need to be realistic in utilizing the legal resources of the state.” Bruning alluded to flaws in the current bill, but would not specify which elements of the law he believes need reform. He also sees drafting an entirely new bill as a possible solution, reports KHAS-TV. The law in question was signed by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman in the spring, and was scheduled to go into effect this month. The law, however, was put on hold two weeks ago after a Nebraska Judge place a preliminary injunction against it following a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. According to the Associated Press, Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that the law would limit access to abortion by requiring mental health screenings that would be impossible to perform and regulate, given a literal interpretation of the law. Camp also disagreed with a provision in the law allowing abortion providers to be subject to civil suit if a screening were to fail to be comprehensive. According to the Omaha World-Herald, if Bruning decides to pursue an appeal on behalf of the state, a permanent injunction hearing would be required.


Associated Press 7/23/10, 7/14/10; KHAS-TV 7/23/10; Omaha World-Herald 7/24/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/15/10, 4/13/10

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