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Planned Parenthood Sues Nebraska to Overturn Womens Health Protection Act

Deacon Keith Fournier

June 30, 2010

LINCOLN, NE (Catholic Online) - The Women's Health Protection Act (LB 594) is the Law in the State of Nebraska. It was passed by an overwhelming majority of elected Nebraska legislators in April and was signed by the Governor of Nebraska. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 15, 2010.

The problem which this well drafted law confronts is undeniable; many abortion providers have compromised the medical standard of care for counseling and screening of patients considering abortion. They have often done so in order to reduce costs and maximize profits. This compromise in the standard of care includes the failure to fully disclose the facts and the risks to the mother who is seeking to abort her child.

It was not enough for the abortionists - including those who wield the scalpel, suction and deadly chemicals on behalf of Planned Parenthood - to be able to reach into the sanctuary of life and kill children in direct violation of the Natural Law Right to Life. Sadly, this evil is protected by the Police Power of the State is currently legal under the Civil Law of the United States.

No, that is not enough for Planned Parenthood. They now want to do this evil act without being bound by the ordinary standard of care applied to other surgical procedures as it relates to informing the woman of the risks attendant to the procedure. It is clear that Planned Parenthoodfs feigned concern for women is being exposed for what it is, a subterfuge. They simply want to perform as many abortions as possible.

What was demonstrated in the testimony and evidence presented during the legislative history of this Act was that in hundreds of cases each day, known risk factors for physical and psychological complications are not being detected because of negligent pre-abortion screening.  This Act changes that. It also protects women from undergoing coerced abortions, a major risk factor for severe post-abortion psychological problems.

The Act clarifies the duty of physicians to screen for risk factors which place women at higher risk of the complications of abortion. It strengthens the Womens Right to Know Law, ensuring that women are given not only general information about abortion risks, but also the specific information most relevant to individual women according to their own unique risk factors.  This is simply a proper application of the current approach to informed consent laws in other surgical procedures.

It removes legal obstacles which typically make it difficult or impossible for a woman to hold an abortion provider liable for injuries which may have been avoided with proper screening and counseling. In other words, it allows for medical negligence or malpractice cases to be brought against the abortionist.  It also helps to protect women from illegal abortions and/or the marketing of self-abortion kits.

The Womens Health Protection Act does not impose any requirements on abortion providers that are contrary to the standard of care for screening which applies to all other major medical procedures.  It does not impose any burdens on women seeking abortions. It does not ban any abortions, even in those cases where a woman may be at higher risk of one or more adverse reactions. You would think that Planned parenthood and others engaged in making money off of the killing of our first neighbors, children in the womb, would be satisfied.

However, on June 28, 2010, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which performs abortions in Nebraska, using lawyers provided by the well funded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska seeking to prevent the implementation of this law. They claim it is somehow "unconstitutional" because it requires information be given to the woman which would enable her to make a fully informed decision.

The lawsuit names Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, Kerry Winterer and Dr. Joann Schaefer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and Crystal Higgins and Brenda Bergman Evans of the Nebraska Boards of Nursing and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, as defendants.

Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the following in a Press Release "The Nebraska Act masquerades as a law to inform patients, but it is in reality an unconstitutional abortion ban. This law sets up impossible criteria requiring doctors to inform patients about tens of thousands of studies, including dubious reports on abortion reaching as far back as the early 1900s. The only way to comply with this law is to cease providing abortions, and that is what makes this law unconstitutional."

Jill June is the President of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. She joined in the Planned Parenthood Press spin accompanying the filing of the Law Suit by stating to a reporter "This act is an attack on our patients. This act is an attack on providers and it is an attack on the ethics and integrity of the medical profession." This statement is ludicrous!

One of the attorneys for Planned Parenthood, Mimi Liu, said in comments at a Press conference that the disclosure requirements were onerous and amounted to what she called a "ban on a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy." That claim is utter nonsense!

Greg Schleppenbach properly disagrees. He is the Director of Pro-Life activity for the Nebraska Catholic Conference. He maintains that the Women's Health protection Act sets forth the kind of information which abortion providers must review and provide to patients and it is eminently reasonable.

He properly pointed out that the law simply protects patients by requiring abortion providers to inform them of potential risks, a standard which is common in other medical procedures. He told a reporter "This is trying to create some level of standard of care in abortion facilities.Their concerns ring very hollow."

State Senator Cap Dierks is the Nebraska lawmaker who introduced the bill. He told the Press that "Women are suffering from avoidable complications that may have been prevented or minimized had they received adequate pre-abortion screening and counseling." That suffering is apparently of no concern to Planned Parenthood. 

We will be watching this important case very, very closely. 

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