Nebraska Attorney General Agrees To Settlement In Intrusive Abortion Law

Affiliate: ACLU of Nebraska
August 24, 2010 5:32 pm

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Planned Parenthood And ACLU Praise Victory For Women’s Health

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OMAHA, NE – The Nebraska Attorney General announced today that he has agreed to a settlement with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland acknowledging that the recently enacted Women’s Health Protection Act is unconstitutional and will be permanently enjoined. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, co-counsel in the case, applaud the settlement, which acknowledges that the Women’s Health Protection Act is unconstitutional based on the merits presented in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Heineman.

“This is a victory for women and women’s health in Nebraska,” said Roger Evans, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director for Public Policy Litigation and Law. “As we have stated from the beginning, this statute is unconstitutional since the only way to comply would have been to cease providing abortions, which is unacceptable. We are gratified that Judge Camp issued a preliminary injunction, and that the Nebraska Attorney General has decided to settle the case and agreed to the Court’s permanently enjoining this statute.”

“We are very pleased with this outcome. This statute was about political interference in a woman’s private health care decisions,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney at the ACLU and co-counsel in the case. “The government should stay out of these difficult, private decisions and let physicians decide what information is best for a patient’s individual situation.”

In July, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp issued a preliminary injunction against the Women’s Health Protection Act, noting in her ruling that “no such legislative concern for the health of women, or of men, has given rise to any remotely similar informed-consent statutes applicable to other medical procedures.”

She also stated that complying with the law’s requirements “would be impossible or nearly impossible,” and would place “physicians who perform abortions in immediate jeopardy of crippling civil litigation, thereby placing women in immediate jeopardy of losing access to physicians who are willing to perform abortions.”

“Our patients rely upon our medical staff to provide honest, medically accurate, unbiased information. That’s why we are pleased that Attorney General Bruning has agreed not to fight the court’s determination that the Act is unconstitutional,” said Jill June, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “Women and fairness in standards of care are the winners today.”

The Act, which passed the Nebraska legislature in April 2010, would have required physicians who may perform an abortion to discuss the entire body of research literature about possible health risks related to abortion with their patients who are seeking abortions, even though much of this information may be outdated, false or misleading.

For instance, it would have required a physician to discuss flawed studies that purport to find a link between abortion and breast cancer, even though the leading medical organizations — such as the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — have all flatly rejected any association between abortion and breast cancer.

Attorneys on the case include Mimi Liu, Jennifer Sandman and Evans of Planned Parenthood for America; Andrea D. Snowden and W. Scott Davis of Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss, Grimit & Witt LLP; and Kolbi-Molinas of the ACLU.

The order and final judgment in the case can be viewed at:

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