Standing Up for Women's Health
Supreme Court Brief Filed for Plaintiffs in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Statement by Karen Pearl, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
WASHINGTON — Today briefs for the plaintiffs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the case challenging a New Hampshire abortion restriction that lacks an exception for medical emergencies when a young woman's health is at risk. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Interim President Karen Pearl issued this statement:
"The outcome of Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood could drastically affect women's health and safety. For more than 30 years, the Supreme Court has consistently held that women's health must be the paramount concern in laws that restrict abortion access. At Planned Parenthood, our top priorities are the health and safety of our patients. We are concerned about the changing nature of the Supreme Court and how protections for women's health may be eroded.
"With Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood scheduled to come before the court on November 30, it is critical that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers make clear her views on reproductive rights during the hearing process. The Senate should only confirm a nominee who is willing to uphold the constitutional rights that are the very fabric of American life.
"In Ayotte, the court could also decide whether doctors will continue to be able to protect their patients' health by challenging harmful abortion restrictions before they take effect — or if women experiencing medical emergencies will have to go to court for permission before they can go to the doctor."
Friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Planned Parenthood are being filed today by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, the New Hampshire Medical Society, and more than 100 pro-choice New Hampshire legislators, in addition to religious, reproductive rights, and women's rights organizations.
Lawyers in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, No. 04-1144, include Jen Dalven, Steve Shapiro, Louise Melling, Talcott Camp, Corinne Schiff, Brigitte Amiri, and Diana Kasdan of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project; Dara Klassel of PPFA; Martin P. Honigberg of Sulloway & Hollis, PLLC; and Lawrence Vogelman, of Nixon Raiche Manning Vogelman & Leach, PA and legal director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.
The plaintiffs' brief will be available online on Thursday, October 13, at www.ayottevplannedparenthood.org.