Nebraska Will Not Fight Mental Health Screening Injunction


Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has now decided not continue the state’s legal fight to have women seeking abortions screened for mental health issues. 

Via the Associated Press:

Bruning’s spokeswoman Shannon Kingery (KING-ur-ee) said Wednesday that he’ll agree to a permanent federal injunction against enforcement of the law.

His decision effectively kills the law, which faces a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

Bruning had earlier shown signs that he would not appeal a federal injunction, stating that the time and costs necessary to defend the law may not be worth it to the state.

The law, which would require all women seeking abortions to undergo a mental health evaluation and listen to a litany of possible side effects from the procedure, many of which have not been backed by scientific studies, was dubbed “so vague that it would be impossible to correctly adhere to it” by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

A federal judge agreed, and put the law under a temporary restraining order on July 15th.  Judge Laurie Smith Camp declared that the regulation:

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.

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  • jilljune

    Please remove the reference in the headline, “Mental Health screening”.  The Nebraska law was much broader than screening for mental health and we have tried to assure that all media reports accurately inform their readers and not repeat the misinformation propagated by the proponents of the bad law.     

    Thank you, Jill June