JACblog! is moving. We will be housed on the new JAC website at www.jacpac.org and we hope you will follow us there.

We will continue to have this blogspot location up, but new postings will be seen on the new site. Please join us there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Experts question challenge to Neb. abortion ban

Two first-of-their-kind abortion laws in Nebraska have drawn threats of legal challenges, but experts say attempts by abortion-rights groups to block one of the measures from going on the books could backfire.

A ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks, set to go into effect this fall, is based on assertions from some doctors that fetuses feel pain by that stage of development. But it might be allowed to stand over fears that a losing challenge to the law would change the legal landscape for abortion, say lawyers on both sides of the debate.

If foes challenge the law and lose, the court could redefine the measure for abortion restrictions, throwing out viability _ when the fetus could survive outside the womb _ in favor of the point when a fetus can feel pain. And if future medical advances were to show a fetus can feel pain at an earlier stage, abortions could be restricted earlier.

"It's a balancing act that anybody who wants to challenge the laws is going to have to assess, whether the strategic risks of bringing a lawsuit outweigh the likelihood of a victory," said Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor at The City University of New York.

A challenge "could be seen by some people as too risky," said Borgmann, who testified against the ban during a legislative hearing in February.

The ban is scheduled to take effect in mid-October.

But the other new state abortion law will be implemented July 15. It requires women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. They also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion.

No comments: