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Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Follows Landslide Electoral Victories For Women's Health

WASHINGTON, DC — Just one day after voters nationwide rallied in support of women's health, including voting down South Dakota's effort to criminalize abortion, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the core tenet of Roe v. Wade: protection for women’s health. 

"This ban puts women's health in danger by forbidding doctors from providing their patients with the care they believe is safest and best," said Eve Gartner, senior staff attorney for PPFA, who argued the case. "This ban is so broadly and vaguely written, it will criminalize abortion much earlier in pregnancy than people think," added Gartner. "It is part of a bigger agenda to chip away at the underpinnings of Roe and ultimately to criminalize all abortions."

The ban would outlaw second-trimester abortions as early as 12 to 15 weeks in pregnancy that doctors say are safe and the best to protect women’s health.  Every court that has examined the federal abortion ban has struck it down because, among other things, the ban fails to protect women's health. Just six years ago, the Supreme Court itself struck down a very similar abortion ban passed by the state of Nebraska because it did not have a health exception, and Justice O'Connor's was the critical vote that upheld protections for women's health and safety.  Since then, Justice O’Connor has retired and been replaced on the court by Justice Alito.

"In this case, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to stand squarely on the side of women's health and reject this law, which would put politicians in between doctors and their patients. Yesterday, voters across the country sent a clear message by defeating extreme politicians who threaten to interfere in the health care decisions of women and families," said Cecile Richards, PPFA president.

When President Bush signed the federal abortion ban in 2003, PPFA, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Abortion Federation and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged it in federal district courts around the country. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association and many other medical groups oppose the federal ban.

"Simply put, this law fails to protect the health of women," concluded Gartner. "Leading ob/gyns at major medical institutions across the country have testified in this case that intact D&E is significantly safer for some women. When the court reviews the overwhelming evidence in front of it, we hope it will reaffirm its past rulings and strike down this law."




Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Erin Kiernon 202-973-4975
Andrea Hagelgans 646-369-8617


November 08, 2006