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Nebraska Judge Hears Arguments on Anti-Choice Law

A federal judge in Nebraska will hear arguments today regarding the merits of a new law requiring women to undergo a mental health examination prior to receiving an abortion, reports the Associated Press. The law was signed by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman in the spring, and is scheduled to go into effect on Thursday. Last month Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit challenging the anti-choice law, claiming the law would be difficult to regulate and would result in an effective ban in abortions due to the “impossible” requirements it places on abortion providers. The law (see PDF) restricts women’s access to abortion by requiring a doctor or other health professionals 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 law makes Nebraska the first state to restrict access to abortion by requiring a doctor to screen women for any mental or physical problems before they perform the procedure. The law was one of two controversial bills limiting women’s reproductive rights that Governor Heineman signed in spring.

Sources:

Associated Press 7/13/10, 6/28/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/13/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/30/10

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