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PPGNW Applauds Federal Court Ruling to Protect Women's Health In Idaho

Federal Judge strikes 20 week abortion ban passed by Idaho State Legislature in 2011.

Contacts

Kristen Glundberg-Prossor 206-328-7714
or Kristen.glundberg-prossor@ppgnw.org


Published: 03.07.13| Updated: 03.08.13

Seattle – Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest today applauded a federal district court judge’s decision to permanently enjoin Idaho’s dangerous and unconstitutional ban on abortion at 20 weeks.  The decision to block Idaho’s abortion ban should serve as a warning to state legislators across the Northwest that these bills are unconstitutional and bad health policy.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also recognized the anti-choice intentions of the legislature and is very clear that historically, these laws focused on a woman's health – and were intended to ensure that unqualified individuals did not perform abortions in unsafe environments. 

In holding the Idaho law unconstitutional, Judge Winmill wrote, “The state's clear disregard of controlling Supreme Court precedent and its apparent determination to define viability in a manner specifically and repeatedly condemned by the Supreme Court evinces an intent to place an insurmountable obstacle in the path of women seeking non-therapeutic abortions of a nonviable fetus at and after 20 weeks’ gestation.

“Because it appears the [law] was enacted with the specific purpose of placing an insurmountable obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks, but before the fetus has attained viability, the section imposing the categorical ban is unconstitutional."

The decision also recognizes that physicians and patients should not have a threat of criminal prosecution when exercising constitutional rights.

“This ruling is a warning to other states around the country that are passing bans on abortion that are unconstitutional and dangerous for women.  Americans and the Court agree that politicians should not be making personal health care decisions for women.  These laws are outrageous and unconstitutional, and they will not stand,” said Christine Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.

Laws like Idaho’s 20-week ban on abortion have had devastating consequences when a woman is experiencing serious medical complications with her pregnancy.  While later abortions are uncommon, it is important that a woman and her doctor have every medical option available to protect a woman’s health. In states that have passed these bans, some women and their families have been put into heartbreaking and tragic situations — needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons, but unable to do so.

 

BACKGROUND:

• Since 2010, 10 states have enacted unconstitutional laws like Idaho’s, placing impermissible limits on when women can get abortions.  In states that have passed laws like this, some women and their families have been put into heartbreaking and tragic situations — needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons but unable to do so.
• In a Pew poll released in January, more than six in ten (63 percent) respondents said they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
• A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released in January found that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade — marking the highest percentage on this question since 1989.

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Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is the region’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest operates 28 health centers in Alaska, Idaho, and western Washington, providing medical services and sexuality education for thousands of women, men, and teenagers each year. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization.  We rely heavily on support from donors to help sustain responsible reproduction.

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