Roundup: Reaction to the Blocked Nebraska Law and Its Potential Future

A federal judge blocked the mental health screenings for women seeking abortions in Nebraska, stating that the rule would “require medical providers to give untruthful, misleading and irrelevant information to patients.” 

Judge Laurie Smith Camp, who ruled on the case yesterday, made it very clear that she sees a multitude of potential issues in the law, according to the Omaha World Herald:

Camp let stand the legislative findings, which say the existing standard of care for screening and counseling women seeking abortions is not always adequate.

She also let stand a section requiring the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to publish a list of agencies that could help women with mental health concerns after they were screened for an abortion.

But Camp found that Planned Parenthood was “likely to succeed” in attacking the key portions of the law.

She said the law puts abortion providers in immediate jeopardy of “crippling civil litigation,” which could force them to stop practicing and cost women access to abortion.

The law, Camp wrote, provides women who come to regret their abortions with “a target to blame — a physician stripped of the usual statutory and common law defenses and made civilly liable for the most extensive damages, by way of an ‘informed consent’ mandate that is either impossible to satisfy, or so vague that the physician (and a jury) are left to speculate about its meaning.”

The law also provides such women and their lawyers with a “very substantial financial incentive” to sue, Camp said.

In addition, the judge said, while the legislative findings express concern for women’s health, that concern was undermined by the plain language of the bill and the absence of similar protections regarding other medical procedures.

Despite such concerns, anti-choice activists have made it clear that they feel the case should move forward.  Via OneNewsNow:

Dave Bydalek of Family First in Nebraska is not surprised. “I think the real key to this whole thing will be the hearing that takes place on a permanent injunction,” he comments. That should happen in two or three months, but I think that the judge will get a better understanding of what the law really does and why it’s constitutional when we get to put on evidence at that time.” agrees.

[T]he Nebraska Catholic Conference says it is abortion business like Planned Parenthood that “have compromised the standard of care for counseling and screening of patients in order to reduce costs and maximize profits.”

“In hundreds of cases each day, known risk factors for physical and psychological complications are not being detected because of negligent pre-abortion screening,” it says. “Women are suffering from avoidable physical and psychological complications that may have been prevented or minimized if the proper pre-abortion screening standards had been met.”

According to Lifenews, “Shannon Kingery, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, told AP the state would respect the order and continue to defend the law in court.”  The World Herald instead says simply that “A spokeswoman for Bruning’s office, Shannon Kingery, said the state will respect Camp’s decision but is reviewing its options.” 

Either way, the state has until July 26th to decide if it wishes to further pursue the case, or simply abandon the plan. Judge Smith Camp would be the one to rule on the case should the state Attorney General decide to proceed.

Mini Roundup: Doctors are allegedly founding their own “Tea Party” movement, a “pro-choicer” explains why he respects Sharron Angle’s position on abortion (and that all pro-choicers really just want unfettered, rampant promiscuous sexual relationships), and a town in Iceland is so desperate to up its birth rate they are considering banning birth control or creating a “Love Week” to get more pregnant women.

July 14, 2010

US Taxpayers to Subsidize New UN Agency Promoting Abortion – North Shore News

Spain’s highest court decides not to suspend new abortion law while it hears … – The Canadian Press

Judge blocks new Neb. abortion screening law – The Associated Press

Health reform will help reduce the number of abortions – The Hill

Americans Split on Kagan Nomination, Oppose Her More Than Sotomayor –

N. Ireland Withdraws Controversial Abortion Guidelines – Lifesite

Thousands of doctors organize National Doctors Tea Party Movement –

Health Law Sparks Abortion Fight In Pennsylvania – NPR

Nebraska Judge Blocks Draconian Abortion Law – Firedoglake

Questions over abortion in new federal health plan – The Associated Press

New Nebraska abortion law blocked –

Anti-Abortion Groups Slam Administration Over Federal Funding for Pa. Health Plan – FOXNews

Missouri governor lets abortion law take effect – The Associated Press

Planned Parenthood’s statement on new abortion law –

Personhood Amendment 62 Campaign Launches in Colorado – Christian Web News

Why Sharron Angle’s rape/abortion position makes pro-choice me respect her more – Pajamas Media

Kenya: US Accused of Paying Groups to Boost ‘Yes’ Camp Support –

Judge blocks abortion screening law – Omaha World-Herald

Grants raise specter of state abortion funds – Washington Times

New health care law raises questions on abortions – USA Today

NJ Dems lobby to restore family planning money – Asbury Park Press

2 NJ lawmakers seek restoration of $7.5M grant for family planning, health clinics–

Young Palin, Johnston can make it work – Houston Chronicle

Contraception Conundrum – National Review Online

Birth Control Ban Imposed in South Iceland Town? – IcelandReview

Washington pharmacy board making Plan B rules – Seattle Times

100 health experts to lead major HIV conference – Pink Paper

Transforming AIDS Care In Africa – Forbes

Will Obama Keep up the Fight on Global AIDS? – Huffington Post

What Can Would-be Teen Moms Everywhere Learn From the Saga of Levi Johnston … – New York Magazine

July 15, 2010

Kanjorski focuses on not insuring elective abortions – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Nebraska: Judge Blocks Abortion Law – New York Times

States try new tactics to restrict abortion –

The fight for free birth control continues – Salon

Group protests use of graphic images at weekly anti-abortion demonstration – The Missoulian

What It’s Like to Have an Abortion in Texas: TV Shows Finally Grappling with … – AlterNet

Judge blocks Nebraska law requiring mental health screening for abortion – Washington Post

Life and Death in California – American Spectator

EMILY’s List vs. Sarah Palin – Boston Globe

Governor Jay Nixon Allows Abortion Law to take Effect – The State Column

Democrat Bart Stupak Accuses Pro-Life Groups of ‘Politicizing’ Abortion Issue … – North Shore News

Sex Miseducation: Prof Fired for Pushing Catholic ‘Natural Law’ – Religion Dispatches

Evangelical group releases documentary on the pill as an abortifacient – Catholic News Agency

Unsafe Abortion, A Major Cause Of Maternal Death In Ghana – Peace FM Online

Pa. carrier using texting program to promote maternal, child health –

Study Confirms Vaccine Could Prevent More Cases Of Cervical Cancers Than … – Medical News Today

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  • saltyc

    If those Nebraskan Catholics in the conference are so worried about women suffering mental consequences to abortion, they could start by not going on about how they’ll go to hell because they aborted.

  • colleen

    It is certainly true that most Americans support the use and availability of contraceptives, but the conscience rights of doctors and nurses enjoy broad public support.

    Doctors, nurses and pharmacists don’t enjoy broad public support when it comes to ‘conscience rights’ which deny women effective contraception and rape victims emergancy contraception. Professor New has either not read the polls or is simply lying.

    (In reply to: )

  • prochoiceferret

    but the conscience rights of doctors and nurses enjoy broad public support

    Maybe he was talking about the “conscience right” of these doctors and nurses to find new jobs if they aren’t up to doing the one they signed up for!


    (I’m sure the public supports this right for people in lots of other professions, too…)

  • crowepps

    Most Americans understand “conscience rights” of doctors and nurses to be related to declining to be actively involved in doing actual abortions, NOT birth control. Certainly the polls on pharmacist ‘conscience rights’ don’t seem to support her assertion.

    “Should pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions that conflict with their personal beliefs? No 77% Yes 22?


    Physician responders were strongly opposed to the idea of pharmacists “refusing to fill”: 85% against vs 14% in favor. Nurses were even more critical of the practice: 87% against vs 12% in favor.”


    More than 80 percent of 1,011 adults polled in May say they think birth control should be accessible, that it should be dispensed by pharmacists “without discrimination or delay,” and it should be covered by health insurance, said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the poll.



    Should pharmacists who personally oppose birth control for religious reasons be able to refuse to sell birth control pills to women who have a prescription for them, or shouldn’t pharmacists be able to refuse to sell birth control pills?”


    Should be Able to Refuse 16%

    Should Not be Able to Refuse 78%

    Unsure 6% 

    Personally, I would be pretty unhappy to be stuck with a doctor or nurse who wasn’t aware of the scientific evidence regarding how birth control pills actually work, and who instead relied on bogus ‘information’ from the ProLife industry about ‘insufficiency of uterine lining’ when that lie has been thoroughly debunked.

  • robin-marty

    such a SOLID documentary behind it?


  • crowepps

    Some people even believe Fox has actual news programs and that the ‘families’ in TV sit-coms are real and that ‘reality TV’ doesn’t have a script. There are a lot of uneducated, credulous people in the world, and that will never change. The thing is, any hope of getting decent medical care requires that doctors and nurses not be part of the group who believes everything they hear must be true.

  • prochoiceferret

    Most Americans understand “conscience rights” of doctors and nurses to be related to declining to be actively involved in doing actual abortions, NOT birth control.

    Yeah. What’s next? The “conscience right” of doctors not to have active involvement in patient care interfere with their golf game?


    “Hey, my religion requires me to keep my score at two under par!”

  • robin-marty

    how about the bus driver’s right not to take a woman to a planned parenthood clinic because she might be getting an abortion?

  • prochoiceferret

    how about the bus driver’s right not to take a woman to a planned parenthood clinic because she might be getting an abortion?

    Ooh! Good one!


    I especially liked this comment:

    That guy was in the wrong job. He might have to refuse his next assignment driving someone to a restaurant because they might be planning to order a drink and his religion disapproves of drinking. Then he night have to refuse to give someone a ride to the grocery store because they might be going to buy pork and his religion doesn’t approve of eating pork. Then he might have to refuse to drive a man and a woman, or two men for that matter, to a hote because they might be planning tol… Well you get the idea. If this guy plays his cards right, he may be able to earn a living as a bus driver without ever driving anyone anywhere ever again.

    (emphasissy mine!)


    Who would ever have guessed that moral outrage was the ticket to a life of ease?

  • crowepps

    Edwin Graning, who was hired as a driver on April 1, 2009, was “concerned that he might be transporting a client to undergo an abortion” when he was assigned to transport two women to Planned Parenthood

    Why the heck should those women have to reveal their personal business to the BUS DRIVER in order to get their ride? Are they supposed to tell him they’re going for a PAP smear? Haven’t these people ever heard of BOUNDARIES? I just cannot understand why they believe that they have a perfect right to snoop into and interfere in the private business of EVERY woman they stumble across!


    Good golly, Miss Molly, how DARE he shame and embarrass those women. I am GLAD he was fired and it isn’t because of his religion or his conscience — it’s because he is rude and insensitive busybody.

  • julie-watkins

    Religious persecution!! Cheating big business breaking laws & trashing the place. It’s much better if people get outraged at non-existant religious persicution and uppity women. What a loser, wanting is “all about me” moment. Great catch, Robin. Thanks!

  • grayduck

    The opening article completely missed a huge related story. Here is a passage from an Associated Press story.


    “Another bill passed by lawmakers last spring would ban abortions starting at 20 weeks, and that measure is set to go into effect Oct. 15.

    That ban is based on assertions from some doctors that fetuses feel pain by that stage of development.

    It initially drew threats of a legal challenge, but attorneys on both sides of the debate have recently theorized that the law might be allowed to stand over fears that losing a challenge to it would change the legal landscape for abortion.”



    In other words, Roe v. Wade is now effectively overturned for lack of enforcement. States can now protect almost half of unborn babies!


  • squirrely-girl


    Roe v. Wade said states couldn’t restrict or deny abortions in the first trimester but state’s interests in the second and third could result in regulation.


    Likewise, given that well over 90% (learn the difference between “half” and 10% please) of abortions occur within the FIRST trimester… well the only “unborn babies” these states would be protecting are those of poor women who couldn’t get the money together for a first term abortion, those with severe fetal anomalies and conditions incompatible with life, and those of women didn’t know they were pregnant (traditionally girls and younger women) until later in the pregnancy. Way to protect and serve!

  • grayduck

    “…state’s interests in the second and third could result in regulation.”


    Here is the relevant passage from Roe v. Wade.


    “(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.”



    It allows regulations designed to protect the mother, but not the child.


    Casey sums up Roe well. “…[A] provision of law is invalid…if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”



    “…learn the difference between “half” and 10% please…”


    Given that twenty weeks is just over half of the way through the thirty-eight weeks of a standard pregnancy, the remaining time is almost half. The fact that most abortions occur in the first trimester is irrelevant.


    “…poor women who couldn’t get the money together for a first term abortion…”


    A woman can choose to refrain from sexual intercourse with men who cannot or will not provide the money to raise a child.


    …those of women didn’t know they were pregnant…


    Most of the studies that I have seen have found this to be the most common reason for late abortions. With all of the inexpensive, widely-available pregnancy testing products available, failing to detect pregnancy- in most cases- apparently results from negligence.


  • arekushieru

    Besides all of the other presumptuous arguments you made, if women don’t know they’re pregnant, it’s probably because they didn’t realize they could BE pregnant.  Derrrrr…..  Why would someone test for something they didn’t even THINK of?  Hmmm…?


    Btw, you said it would protect half of all unborn “babies”.  So her numbers AREn’t irrelevant.  Since they would only protect 10 perCENT of unborn fetuses.  Although protection is a misnomer.  More like granting feoti extra rights.


    Feoti can’t feel pain until at LEAST the 28th week, anyways.  If they can feel pain, then you just stated that PARalyzed people can feel pain, because they at least HAVE a CNS.


    So either her sexual freedoms must be limited or her rights must be taken away, JUST for having a uterus?  Don’t you know what they call that…?  MiSOgynyyy!

  • grayduck

    Arekushieru on August 15, 2010 – 1:19am: “Why would someone test for something they didn’t even THINK of?”


    From what I can discern from studies of late abortions, few of the women were unaware that a man had engaged in sexual intercourse with them. Therefore, I doubt that not knowing about the possibility of pregnancy is a major factor in women failing to detect pregnancy.


    Feoti can’t feel pain until at LEAST the 28th week, anyways.


    The experts think otherwise.