Ruling lifts Planned Parenthood injunction against state’s abortion statute
A federal court ruled against Planned Parenthood and rejected an injunction against a state law requiring doctors to tell women seeking abortions that they may face serious medical conditions and will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued a 7-4 ruling Friday to lift an injunction against the South Dakota informed consent abortion law. Attorneys representing the Alliance Defense Fund filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Family Research Council in defense of the law.
“A woman’s life is worth more than Planned Parenthood’s bottom line,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence in a press release. “Anyone truly concerned about the interests of women supports making sure they have access to all the information necessary to make a fully informed decision. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, has argued adamantly to restrict the information women have about the lives of their pre-born babies. We’re pleased the court’s decision today will make sure women have access to the information they need and deserve.”
The court said U.S. Supreme Court rulings allow a state to “use its regulatory authority to require a physician to provide truthful, non-misleading information relevant to a patient’s decision to have an abortion, even if that information might also encourage the patient to choose childbirth over abortion.”
The South Dakota act defines a human being as “an individual living member of the species Homo sapiens, including the unborn human being during the entire embryonic and fetal ages from fertilization to full gestation.”
According to the law, a woman is not considered to be informed unless she receives written notice stating:
- That the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;
- That the pregnant woman has an existing relationship with that unborn human being an that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota;
- That by having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated;
- A description of all known medical risks of the procedure including depression and related psychological stress and increased risk of suicide
Planned Parenthood moved for the preliminary injunction against the law, arguing that it would “violate physicians’ free speech rights by compelling them to deliver the State’s ideological message.”
The new ruling reverses a federal district court opinion barring enforcement of the 2005 informed consent law and sends the case back to district court.