Lawsuits challenge abortion restrictions in NC, two other states

Posted November 30, 2016

Abortion rights supporters protest as the state Senate gives its blessing to a series of abortion restrictions on July 3, 2013.

— Planned Parenthood and its allies filed lawsuits Wednesday in North Carolina, Missouri and Alaska challenging laws that they view as unconstitutional restrictions on abortion.

The coordinated fight against abortion regulations comes in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law that required abortion clinics in that state to meet standards for surgical centers and mandated that their doctors have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals.

"We are going to fight back state by state and law by law until every person has the right to pursue the life they want, including the right to decide to end a pregnancy," Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. "Individual rights and freedom go to the heart of who we are as a country, including the right to access safe and legal abortion."

The North Carolina lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and three ob-gyns in the Triangle, alleging that a state law that prevents doctors from performing abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, except in immediate medical emergencies, violates their patients' rights.

The medical emergency exception went into effect Jan. 1, according to the lawsuit, and the state previously allowed doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks "if there is substantial risk that the continuance of the pregnancy would threaten the life or gravely impair the health of the woman."

The plaintiffs allege that some women have medical conditions that become exacerbated during pregnancy but don't rise to the level of a medical emergency until long after the 20-week mark.

"Forcing a woman who needs medical treatment to wait until her condition deteriorates to the point that it poses a medical emergency is contrary to the standard of care and will expose her to significant health risks," the lawsuit states.

The 20-week limit also restricts the ability of women to seek medical advice and possibly undergo an abortion if prenatal screening shows some anomaly with their fetuses, according to the lawsuit.

"The 20-week ban presents physicians with an untenable choice: face criminal prosecution for providing medical care in accordance with their best medical judgment or refuse to provide the critical care their patients seek," the lawsuit states.

The restrictions being challenged in Missouri are similar to those that the Supreme Court struck down in Texas. The Alaska lawsuit targets restrictions that ban abortion in outpatient health centers after the first trimester of pregnancy, which opponents say forces many women to travel out of state for second-trimester procedures.


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  • Raleigh Rose Dec 1, 11:48 a.m.
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    If Republicans were truly interested in reducing the number of abortions rather than controlling the private lives of women, then they would push for safe, accessible, affordable, and effective contraception along with comprehensive reproductive education in schools. Instead they fight for abstinence only education and have fought tooth and nail against the provisions in the ACA to ensure every woman has access to contraception. That tells you that it's more the right is trying to control what women do in their private lives whether it be in the doctor's office or in their personal relationships and less worry about abortions. They certainly don't want to help women or children AFTER the baby is born, they just want to make sure it's born. That's not pro-life, it's pro-birth.

  • Matt Clinton Dec 1, 9:26 a.m.
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    If the right to bear arms can be restricted, and it is, then so too can any other right. See how that works, liberals? You want your cake and to eat it too. Life and law doesn't work that way. So, if you want unrestricted access to abortion, then you have to be ready for unrestricted access to arms, speech, etc. You sure this is the path you want to walk? Really really sure?

  • Alfred Barnes Dec 1, 4:55 a.m.
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    Planned Parenthood is going to get defunded, either way, get over it.

    I don't support abortion, however, I do support a woman's right to choose. I'm a christian, a father, and a husband. I feel for anyone who has to make that decision, but it's purely their decision. I'm not God, neither is anyone else, and no one should be attempting to play God by proxy. Everything is due course, and everything it's due. Conception is merely the potential for life. There are many things that happen that don't allow life to reach it's fullness. Anyone who says they know the mind of God in such manners is deluded. It's tragic either way, which doesn't need to be compounded by bringing an unwanted child into the world. It would only add to the suffering.

  • Alfred Barnes Dec 1, 4:47 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    You're free to believe what you will, but you don't get to make that decision for anyone else.

  • Alfred Barnes Dec 1, 4:46 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Your statements aren't definitive, the truth of God's word is, which you interpret a certain way. Sorry, it's not open to interpretation. You haven't provided any scripture to back your assertions, so I can only assume you can't.

  • Alfred Barnes Dec 1, 4:42 a.m.
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    Assuming life begins at conception, does it?

    No, it doesn't. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. If it's overturned, it should only be in favor of states rights.

  • Mare Procellis Nov 30, 11:48 p.m.
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    Why? Why does the fetus of a rapist deserve termination whereas one of careless people doesn't?
    Also, even careful women and women reassured by their doctors they can't have children get pregnant. Believe me, I know.

  • Carrie Hurrelbrink Nov 30, 9:08 p.m.
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    If you don't want a baby use protection! Don't be careless, get pregnant then murder an innocent human. I only believe in abortion if the lives of the mother and baby are in danger or in the case of rape.

  • Susan Olvera Nov 30, 7:06 p.m.
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    Honestly, I think any facility providing abortions from the 2nd trimester and beyond should be required to be a surgical facility and also have privileges to the nearest hospital. Second trimester abortions are much more complicated than a first trimester abortion and the potential for a uterine puncture of septic shock is greater. This makes sense to me. If people truly want abortions to be "safe" then ensuring the person performing the abortion is equipped to handle an abortion should be part of it.

  • Charles Phillips Nov 30, 5:24 p.m.
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    No.....that is why murder is illegal.