Judge Blocks Nebraska’s New Abortion Law

     (CN) – A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a new Nebraska law that would have required women to undergo mental health screenings before getting an abortion. U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp approved Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the law, which was to take effect Thursday.

     Camp’s order blocks the law’s enforcement until a lawsuit, filed June 28 in Federal Court, is decided.
     “[T]he purpose of the bill appears to be the preservation of unborn human life through the creation of substantial, likely insurmountable, obstacles in the path of women seeking abortions in Nebraska,” Camp wrote.
     Signed into law by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, the law would require women to be screened to make sure they’re weren’t pressured into getting an abortion before one is performed. If such screening isn’t performed, a woman could file a civil lawsuit against doctors should mental or physical problems arise from the procedure.
     Planned Parenthood of the Heartland claimed the new law 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 also claimed it could lose its license under the new law, and that its enforcement could leave it facing assorted penalties, “including damages for wrongful death and professional negligence,” which will result in its patients being “denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to choose to end pregnancy.”
     Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Heineman, Nebraska’s Attorney General Jon Bruning, Kerry Winterer and Joann Schaefer with the state’s health department, and Crystal Higgins and Brenda Bergman-Evans with the state’s nurses board.

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