Reproductive Rights Tag - ACLU of North Carolina http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/Latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 11:21:28 -0400 en-gb Groups Ask Court to Strike Down Unconstitutional N.C. Abortion Ban http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/groups-ask-court-to-strike-down-unconstitutional-n-c-abortion-ban.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/groups-ask-court-to-strike-down-unconstitutional-n-c-abortion-ban.html

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Abortion providers who are challenging North Carolina’s unconstitutional law that prevents doctors from providing abortion care to a woman after the twentieth week of pregnancy yesterday asked a federal court for summary judgement in their case.

In their motion, the groups representing the doctors – which include the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood – argue that North Carolina’s law clearly violates a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and must be struck down.

“As a physician, not being able to provide a woman the care she needs because of an arbitrary deadline based on politics, not medicine, is devastating,” said Dr. Elizabeth Deans, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “A woman and her doctor should be the ones making medical decisions throughout her pregnancy. But this law enables politicians to intrude into the patient-physician relationship and prevents doctors from providing our patients with high-quality care when they need it.”

The lawsuit was filed on November 30 on behalf of a group of North Carolina physicians who provide abortion and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. The plaintiffs say that North Carolina’s law unnecessarily and unconstitutionally prevents them from providing needed care to patients, denies women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, threatens the health and wellbeing of women, prevents some women with fewer resources from accessing treatment at all, and prevents doctors from fulfilling their professional responsibilities and obligations as physicians.

A woman may seek an abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy for a number of reasons, from delays in finding out she is pregnant, to not being able to afford the procedure, to a lack of doctors who provide abortion care near her, or barriers put in place by politicians, such as bans on abortion coverage.

North Carolina’s law contains only an extremely narrow exception for immediate medical emergencies that puts women’s health at risk. The ban forces physicians caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to delay necessary care until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives a diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth.

The case, Bryant et al. v. Woodall et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

This filing and supporting documents can be found below:

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment

Memorandum of Law In Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment

Bryant Declaration

Black Declaration

Gray Declaration

Background:

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is unconstitutional to ban abortion before viability. In 2016, North Carolina amended its law to further narrow health exceptions to the 20-week ban — following a five year period when the state enacted thirteen abortion restrictions. Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. One out of three U.S. women who has reached the age of 45 has had at least one abortion and approximately 61% of women obtaining abortions already have one child or more. These laws — and the extreme agenda they are part of — are deeply unpopular with the public. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a strong majority of voters oppose them.

 

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mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Reproductive Rights Thu, 15 Dec 2016 08:57:25 -0500
Women’s Health Groups File Legal Challenge to North Carolina Abortion Ban http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/women-s-health-groups-file-legal-challenge-to-north-carolina-abortion-ban.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/women-s-health-groups-file-legal-challenge-to-north-carolina-abortion-ban.html

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Women’s health groups today filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn North Carolina’s unconstitutional law that prevents doctors from providing abortion care to a woman after the twentieth week of pregnancy.

The law criminalizes abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy and contains only the narrowest possible exception for immediate medical emergencies. The ban forces physicians caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to delay necessary care until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives the devastating diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth. In other cases, financial hurdles, barriers put in place by politicians, lack of a nearby provider, or clinic closures can make it impossible for a woman to get an abortion as soon as she would like.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of North Carolina abortion providers who say that North Carolina’s law unnecessarily and unconstitutionally prevents them from providing needed care to patients, denies women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, threatens the health and wellbeing of women, prevents some women with less resources from accessing treatment at all, and prevents doctors from fulfilling their professional responsibilities and obligations as physicians.

The case, Bryant et al. v. Woodall et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“A woman must be able to make health decisions at different points in her pregnancy that are best for her circumstances, including whether to end a pregnancy, without interference from politicians,” said Irena Como, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is just plain wrong to force a woman in need of medical care to travel long distances out of her home state, or to prevent her from receiving that care altogether.”

“At Planned Parenthood, our top priority is ensuring that women have access to the health care they need, including safe, legal abortion.” Jenny Black, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said. “We are fighting for the patients who rely on us for high quality care and will continue to do so until each North Carolinian has the ability to make health care decisions based on the best advice of their expert medical provider.”

“Health care should be based on a woman’s individual circumstances, not dictated by politicians fixated on interfering in her personal, private decisions,” said Genevieve Scott, Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We vow to fight this unconstitutional ban so North Carolina women can get safe, legal, compassionate abortion services.”

Background:

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is unconstitutional to ban abortion before viability. In 2016, North Carolina amended its law to further narrow health exceptions to the 20-week ban — following a five year period when the state enacted thirteen abortion restrictions.

Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. One out of three U.S. women who has reached the age of 45 has had at least one abortion and approximately 61% of women obtaining abortions already have one child or more.

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mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Reproductive Rights Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:33:17 -0500
Appeals Court Reverses Ruling in North Carolina ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Case http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/appeals-court-reverses-ruling-in-north-carolina-choose-life-license-plate-case.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/appeals-court-reverses-ruling-in-north-carolina-choose-life-license-plate-case.html

RICHMOND, VA – In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today reversed its earlier ruling that a 2011 North Carolina law allowing specialty license plates that say “Choose Life,” but not an alternative plate with a message supporting reproductive freedom, was unconstitutional. In a ruling today, the court now says North Carolina is under no obligation to offer a pro-choice plate, and it sent the case back to the district court to enter judgement for the state.

The North Carolina law had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina on behalf of pro-choice drivers.

“It’s very disappointing that North Carolina can now deny drivers on one side of this contentious issue an equal ability to express their views,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Regardless of the court’s ruling, the General Assembly should finally do the right thing and allow citizens on both sides of this controversial issue to purchase specialty license plates supporting their views.”

The U.S. Supreme Court had asked the Fourth Circuit to reconsider its ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling inWalker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., which found that Texas’s specialty license plates were government speech, and the state was therefore able to reject a proposal for plates featuring a Confederate battle flag.

Background:

During the 2011 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 289, which authorized the issuance of a “Choose Life” license plate. However, the legislature repeatedly refused to authorize a plate that supported the countervailing position in favor of reproductive freedom. Six amendments were proposed in the legislature to authorize an additional new plate that stated either, “Trust Women. Respect Choice.” or simply “Respect Choice.” The legislature rejected all six amendments.

The ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation filed a federal court challenge to the law that same year on behalf of North Carolinians seeking a specialty license plate that supports a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. The lawsuit argued the state’s plan violated the First Amendment by creating an avenue for private speech but opening it to only one side of a contentious issue.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox temporarily blocked production of the license plates before striking down the law in December 2012, writing that “the State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

North Carolina appealed that ruling to the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the lower court’s ruling in February 2014.  “Issuing a ‘Choose Life’ specialty license plate while refusing to issue a pro-choice specialty license plate constitutes blatant viewpoint discrimination squarely at odds with the First Amendment,” the court ruled in a unanimous 3-0 opinion.

Today’s ruling reverses that earlier opinion.

 

 

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Free Speech Thu, 10 Mar 2016 11:42:53 -0500
2016 ACLU-NC Award Recipients: Abortion Providers Who Protected their Patients from Government Intrusion http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/2016-aclu-nc-award-recipients-abortion-providers-who-protected-their-patients-from-government-intrusion.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/2016-aclu-nc-award-recipients-abortion-providers-who-protected-their-patients-from-government-intrusion.html

In North Carolina and across the country, a woman's right to access safe and legal abortion has been under unprecedented attack. But last year, one of the more intrusive assaults on reproductive freedom was defeated once and for all in North Carolina, thanks to a group of abortion providers who volunteered to serve as plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other groups.

In recognition of their efforts, we are proud to honor the plaintiffs in Stuart et al. v. Camnitz with the 2016 ACLU-NC Award for extraordinary contributions to the fight for civil liberties in North Carolina.

Join us as we honor these courageous medical professionals at the 2016 Liberty Awards Dinner in Chapel Hill on Saturday, April 2.

In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a demeaning, medically unnecessary law that would have forced abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail before she had an abortion, regardless of her circumstances.

The ACLU and other groups filed a challenge to the law on behalf of abortion providers who argued that the law impeded their ability to provide individualized care to their patients based on their specific needs. In response, a federal court struck down the law, finding that it violated the providers' First Amendment rights to make them read a government-mandated script to their patients. North Carolina unsuccessfully appealed the ruling all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year declined to hear the case, preventing the intrusive law from ever going into effect.

Make your reservations today to honor these providers and other civil liberties heroes, including Southerners on New Ground and criminal justice reform advocate Darryl Hunt, at the 2016 Liberty Awards.

 

 

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Reproductive Rights Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:21:15 -0500