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3 Key Cases Impacting Pregnant Women and Unborn Children Across the US

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

At a time of year when so many pause to wonder anew at the miracle of the Child in the manger, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys continue their tireless efforts to protect the miracle of children still in the womb.

Over last few weeks, ADF has been involved in several key cases with the potential to impact many thousands of pregnant women and their babies all over the country, including:

1. Des Moines, Iowa – where our attorneys recently submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Iowa Supreme Court in support of an Iowa Board of Medicine ban on “webcam” abortions. Webcam abortions allow a doctor, speaking via closed-circuit television from a remote location, to prescribe abortion-inducing drugs to a woman without ever personally seeing or examining her. A trial court upheld a ban on the practice (as have 16 other states), but Planned Parenthood of the Heartland – apparently unconcerned about the danger this practice poses to pregnant women – has appealed the decision to Iowa’s high court.

“Planned Parenthood and other abortionists must be held to basic medical standards of care,” says ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton, “and little is more basic than an in-person examination by a physician before a procedure that poses serious health risks to the mother and ends the life of an unborn child. The health and safety of mothers is more important that the profits Planned Parenthood obtains through its ‘webcam’ abortion scheme.”

ADF submitted the brief on behalf of several pro-life individuals and organizations, including the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Donna J. Harrison, M.D.; Iowa Right to Life; and Susan Thayer, a former director of an Iowa Planned Parenthood facility who resigned her position rather than perform “webcam” abortions. ADF is also representing Thayer in a separate lawsuit that accuses Planned Parenthood of the Heartland of massive healthcare fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

2. Texas – ADF and other pro-life organizations and physicians last month filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to uphold the remainder of a Texas abortion law, House Bill. The appeals court has already upheld most of the law and is now weighing two provisions that abortionists have challenged. The first requires all abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, in case a woman needs hospital care due to post-abortion complications (a provision the 5th Circuit has previously upheld). The second requires abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

“Texans should have full freedom to prioritize women’s health and safety over the bottom line profits of abortionists,” says ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker. “Like the other provisions of Texas’s law, these requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the health and safety of pregnant women. Abortionists should not be exempt from medical requirements that other doctors are required to follow.”

ADF filed this brief together with Life Legal Defense Foundation; Texas Center for Defense of Life; American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Abby Johnson; And Then There Were None; Carol Everett; The Heidi Group; and Donna Harrison, M.D., who provided substantial assistance in explaining the medical justification for the regulations.

3. New York City – where ADF attorneys filed suit against the city over a law that threatens non-medical, pro-life pregnancy care centers with steep fines and potential closure if they don’t post signs and publish in their ads that the city health department encourages women to go elsewhere. Although our ADF attorneys persuaded a lower court to remove two sections of that law, last month the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in the case, letting stand a preliminary appeals court decision that upheld one portion of the law.

“Pro-life pregnancy care centers, which offer free help and hope to women and their children, shouldn’t be punished by political allies of abortionists,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Most of the government’s mandatory pro-abortion messages were struck down on appeal, but part of the law still forces pro-life centers to speak a message designed to scare women away. That ruling was only preliminary, so we will maximize our efforts in this case to make sure free speech is fully protected for centers that offer free and caring help to women.”

Please be in prayer for these cases, and for our ADF attorneys as they work to preserve not only legal protections for children in the womb and the health and safety of their mothers, but a nation whose legal culture that honors the sanctity of life.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.


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