Judge Hears Oral Arguments On Preliminary Injunction To Stop New Neb Abortion Limits


      A Lancaster County district judge heard about an hour of oral arguments Wednesday on a request to stop implementation of LB 574, Nebraska’s new law banning abortion after 12 weeks and halting gender-affirming treatments for minors.

     Judge Lori Maret said she would issue a written ruling later on the request by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland for a preliminary injunction to stop the abortion ban until a legal challenge to the new law is decided. 

     The abortion ban took effect immediately after Gov Jim Pillen signed LB 574 into law, but the gender-affirming ban doesn’t begin until October.

     Planned Parenthood argues LB 574, passed on the last day of this year’s session, violates the Nebraska Constitution’s restriction that legislation contain only a single subject by dealing with both abortion and trans-gender issues.

     Boston-based ACLU attorney Matthew Segal called it “probably one of the gravest violations of the single subject rule that the court has seen in a very long time.”

     Assistant Attorney General Erik Fern disagreed, saying LB 574 “firmly withstands” questions about its constitutionality because the two matters both deal with public health and welfare.

      Fern also argued it’s irrelevant how LB 574 got passed because there’s a “strong presumption” that any legislation passed is both “legal and enforceable” and that the judge lacks the authority to go “into the internal process of how the Nebraska Unicameral has decided it will conduct its business.” 

      Fern concluded by arguing physicians have “no vested right” to practice medicine as they please, and that the harm to the unborn and minor children the law tries to protect outweighs any “economic” harm done to Planned Parenthood.