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Pennsylvania Judge Overturns Decision to Deny Abortion

Citing a woman’s legal right to an abortion protected under Roe vs Wade, a Pennsylvania judge reversed a decision today that had barred a woman from obtaining a legal abortion. Common Pleas Judge Michael Conahan dissolved a temporary injunction forbidding the woman from ending her pregnancy and dismissed the lawsuit filed by her former boyfriend, who was abusive, to force her to carry the pregnancy to term. “Neither an ex-boyfriend nor a fetus has standing to interfere with a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy,” Conahan said in his decision today. This decision supports legal precedent on the US Supreme Court in 1976 and 1992 that establishes that a man’s interest in a fetus could never take priority over a woman’s right over her own body.

After the injunction was filed against Meyers, her attorneys filed an emergency appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court because Meyers, 22, was already in her tenth week of pregnancy, according to staff members of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP), who are part of Meyers’ legal team. Her attorneys also filed an additional emergency appeal on her behalf to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which decided not to rule but left the door open to further appeals.

Last Monday, Meyers obtained a protection-from-abuse order against her ex-boyfriend, John Stachokus, after he repeatedly threatened her physical safety after their break-up on June 22. Linda Rosenthal, a staff attorney for CRLP and lead counsel in the case of Stachokus v. Meyers, said: “No personÑnot an abusive ex-boyfriend and not a state court trial judgeÑhas the right to veto an adult woman’s decision to terminate her first-trimester pregnancy.”

Sources:

Associated Press, 8/4/02; 8/5/02; CRLP press release 8/2/02