Supreme Court Preview: Ayotte v Planned Parenthood
The Supreme Court tomorrow will hear arguments in a case involving a challenge to a New Hampshire parental notification law for women under the age of 18 seeking an abortion. The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a minor without waiting 48 hours after a parent or legal guardian has been notified. The law is being challenged by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, two clinics (the Concord Feminist Health Center and the Feminist Health Center for Portsmouth), and Dr. Wayne Goldner because it does not include an exception to preserve the health of a young woman under 18. The law does include a judicial bypass option, but no exception for medical emergencies that can’t wait for a judge’s ruling.
Women’s health and rights advocates are also concerned that both the state of New Hampshire and the United States Solicitor General (representing the Bush Administration) are asking the Supreme Court to apply a new legal standard in this case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood. They are arguing that no lawsuits should be able to be filed to block enforcement of a new law; rather, the courts should refuse to hear so-called “hypothetical” cases and should wait until an actual harm has been inflicted on an actual woman. “This is a radical argument with dangerous consequences for women's health,” said ACLU attorney Jennifer Dalven, who will be arguing the case before the Supreme Court on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the clinics.
The Ayotte case will be heard tomorrow at 11 a.m., following the 10 a.m. arguments in Scheidler v. NOW and Operation Rescue v. NOW, related cases involving anti-abortion violence and access to women’s health care clinics. These will be the first abortion-related cases heard by Chief Justice John Roberts. The Feminist Majority Foundation authored a major clinic violence amicus brief in the NOW cases and signed on to a brief authored by Legal Momentum in the Ayotte case opposing the New Hampshire parental notification law.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .