Friday, June 27, 2008

8th Circuit Upholds State Law that Forces Ideology

(Sioux Falls, SD) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis today issued a 7 to 4 ruling against Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota in Planned Parenthood v. Rounds, a case challenging a South Dakota law that requires doctors to give ideologically charged, inaccurate information to women seeking abortion care. This case was brought by Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS).

Planned Parenthood challenged the law in federal district court to protect women in South Dakota who rely on Planned Parenthood for abortion care. The lawsuit was brought on a number of bases, including that it violates doctors’ and patients’ constitutional rights by interfering in the doctor/patient relationship.

“We have always believed and worked hard to ensure that every woman has the best, medically accurate information so that she can make the right decision for her unique circumstances. But this law is interference, not information,” said Kate Looby, South Dakota State Director for PPMNS.

“Nowhere in the United States is it more difficult to obtain an abortion than in South Dakota. This ruling adds yet another barrier between women and the safe, legal reproductive health care they need,” said Looby.

South Dakota has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation and one of the lowest rates of abortion in the U.S. No abortion can be performed in the state without a 24-hour waiting period, mandatory education about the woman's options, parental notification in the case of a minor and the opportunity to view a sonogram.

Passed by the South Dakota legislature in 2005, this law was pushed through by the same politicians and special interest groups who tried to ban all abortions in South Dakota in 2006. In a critical victory for women’s health, the people of South Dakota voted down the dangerous ban by a margin of 12 points in the November 2006 elections.

Another abortion ban, crafted by these same special interest groups specifically to challenge Roe v. Wade, is slated for the ballot in South Dakota this November.

“Today’s decision places South Dakota politicians between women and the doctors who care for them by requiring health care providers to deliver a state-mandated ideology,” Looby said. “Planned Parenthood’s top priorities are the health and safety of our patients, and we will continue to provide the best health care possible under the ruling.”

“This case is about whether women in South Dakota should be able to make personal health care decisions with their doctors – free from political interference,” said Mimi Liu, PPFA Staff Attorney. “Planned Parenthood asked the court to strike down this unconstitutional law and protect the doctor-patient relationship from government interference and state-mandated ideology.”

Prior federal court rulings have supported Planned Parenthood’s position, and the district court originally concluded that the law is likely unconstitutional and granted a preliminary injunction against it. South Dakota and two intervenors appealed that decision, and, on October 30, 2006, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit again ruled 2-1 to affirm the preliminary injunction. The State and the intervenors then asked that the panel’s decision be reviewed by all the judges of the Eighth Circuit, in an “en banc” review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truly sad.