A federal judge in San Francisco today declared that the abortion procedures ban passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush last year is unconstitutional. In her ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft, US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton barred the enforcement of the law at any of Planned Parenthood’s 900 clinics nationwide, according to Reuters. “The act poses an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose,” wrote Judge Hamilton in her decision, according to the Associated Press.
“Today’s ruling is a landmark victory for medical privacy rights and women’s health,” said Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt. “The Ashcroft Department of Justice can no longer threaten Planned Parenthood doctors with the daunting specter of criminal prosecution for putting their patients first.”
The abortion procedures ban faces two more challenges in federal courts in New York and Nebraska. It is similar to a Nebraska state law that was overturned by a 2000 US Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart because it lacked an exception to protect women’s health.