Federal appeals court affirms injunction against Nebraska abortion law

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] on Friday affirmed [order, PDF] an injunction against a Nebraska abortion law [LB 594 materials]. The US District Court for the District of Nebraska [official website] issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] in July 2010 against the law, known as the Women's Health Protection Act, which requires physicians to evaluate patients to determine that their choice to have an abortion [JURIST news archive] is voluntary and to inform the patients of all risk factors and complications [LB 594 text, PDF] that have been statistically associated with abortion and published in peer-reviewed journals 12 months prior to the pre-abortion evaluation, as well as earlier studies. The district court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. Nebraskans United for Life (NuLife) [advocacy website] asked for a motion to reconsider, which was denied, and they subsequently appealed. The Eighth Circuit refused to reconsider the motion based on its timeliness, holding, "[t]he record demonstrates the district court considered the proper factors, including the fact the litigation was terminated procedurally, NuLife failed to justify its delay in light of its prior knowledge of the case, and the parties would be prejudiced because final judgment of their settlement had already been entered." Given their holding, they did not reach a decision on the alternative bases for the appeal.

In August 2010 Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning [official website] announced that he would agree to a permanent injunction [JURIST report] against the Nebraska law because he believed there was little chance that the law would withstand a court challenge. The abortion law was supposed to go into effect in July 2010. The lawsuit was filed [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] in June 2010 by women's rights group Planned Parenthood of the Heartland [advocacy website] arguing that the law was unconstitutional.

 

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