On July 14th, only one day before it was due to go into effect, a federal judge in Nebraska blocked an “informed consent” law (LB 594). This bill, signed into law on April 13th, would have helped protect the victims of abortion by establishing more detailed standards for informed consent by abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland had recently sued to avoid obligations under this new law to provide women with valuable medical information about the harm caused by abortion. Pro-life groups have observed that many women are not informed fully about the harm of abortion, and only decide to have an abortion because they are not fully informed. But Judge Laurie Smith Camp held, “The effect of LB 594 will be to place substantial, likely insurmountable, obstacles in the path of women seeking abortions in Nebraska. Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence that the disclosures mandated by LB 594, if applied literally, will require medical providers to give untruthful, misleading and irrelevant information to patients.”
Students for Life of America (SFLA) filed a motion with the Court on July 9th to submit an amicus brief in support of the law, including quotes from affidavits by medical experts about the harm caused by abortion. SFLA pointed out that the law does not require providing any “untruthful, misleading and irrelevant” information to patients. But Planned Parenthood filed an opposition on July 12th to prevent the Court from considering SFLA’s arguments and quotations of medical authorities about the harm caused by abortion. In holding in favor of Planned Parenthood’s demand to block the law, the Court also allowed Planned Parenthood to exclude the Court’s consideration of SFLA’s amicus brief.
Students for Life of America considers LB 594 constitutional under existing law. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), a majority of the Supreme Court held that informed and consent laws do not generally pose an “undue burden” under Roe v. Wade (See Casey, 505 U.S. at 882); therefore, the Nebraska Law would not be unconstitutional and is not difficult to comply with.
Information regarding a patient’s health in any situation is both imperative and relevant. How a person will react to a medical procedure both mentally and physically is an important consideration in any medical situation. A woman entering a clinic to have an abortion procedure, whether surgically or with the RU486 pill, deserves to know the effects of the procedure or medication. Having a statement presented to both her and her doctor before the abortion is vital for her health.