Hearing Set in Legal Challenge to First-Ever Federal Abortion Ban

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Oral Arguments in Nebraska Scheduled for Wednesday Morning – Hours Before President Bush Signs the Unconstitutional Ban
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At 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, just hours before President Bush is scheduled to sign into law the first-ever federal abortion ban, the Center for Reproductive Rights will present oral arguments before a Nebraska federal judge in an effort to prevent the harmful law from taking effect.

"We have asked for this hearing before the President signs the bill because we have a very small window of opportunity to prevent the law from taking effect," said Priscilla Smith, Director of the Domestic Litigation Program for the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel on the case. "We want the judge to be in a position to rule as soon as the bill becomes law."

The ban, which contains no health exception and outlaws the safest abortion procedures used as early as 12 weeks, is almost identical to a Nebraska ban struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court just three years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart - a case argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights. President Bush is scheduled to sign the ban at a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

Carhart v. Ashcroft was filed in a Nebraska federal court last Friday on behalf of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case striking down Nebraska's ban. The Center is hoping to prevent the law from ever taking effect.

"I will do everything I can to protect my patients' health," said Dr. Carhart, lead plaintiff in the case. "This law would force me to practice unsafe medicine because it bans the safest and most common second trimester abortion procedures."

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed its case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Lawyers on the case include Priscilla J. Smith of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Nebraska attorneys Jerry M. Hug and Alan G. Stoler.

  • WHAT: Judge Richard G. Kopf to hear oral arguments in Carhart v. Ashcroft
  • WHEN: Wednesday, November 5, 2003 at 9:00 a.m.
  • WHERE: Courtroom One, Robert V. Denney Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, Nebraska