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April 24, 2000


Communications Department

On Eve of Oral Arguments in Stenberg v. Carhart Case, National Abortion Federation Sends Message to American Families That Roe v. Wade Hangs in the Balance

Washington, DC - "All women and families across the country have a stake in the outcome of the oral arguments in Stenberg v.Carhart, Nebraska's so-called 'partial birth abortion' ban case," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "This case is about whether abortions will remain safe and legal for American women."

"The proponents of this law have used a deceptive campaign to mislead the American people about what the law would ban," said Saporta. "The law would not just ban one method of abortion, nor would it just ban later abortions. The truth is that Nebraska's so-called 'partial birth abortion' ban, like others passed around the country, is so vaguely worded that it would outlaw most safe abortion procedures, including those provided in the first trimester."

The National Abortion Federation, along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women's Association, the American Nurses Association, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, filed an amicus brief in support of Dr. Carhart. The brief argues that the ban should be struck down by the Supreme Court because it is unconstitutionally vague, imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to seek an abortion, threatens women's health, and lacks exceptions to protect a woman's health and to save her life.

"Doctors, not legislators, should make health care decisions," said Saporta. "A physician in the operating room shouldn't have to call his or her legislator for permission to provide appropriate medical care to a patient. If the court upholds the ban, it would effectively take away the ability of all Americans to make private, personal health care decisions in consultation with their physicians."

"NAF strongly supports our member Dr. Carhart, and his efforts to bring this important case before the Supreme Court," said Saporta. "Dr. Carhart has risked violence, threats and harassment to offer safe abortion care to his patients, because he remembers what it was like for American women when abortion was illegal. We are confident that the Supreme Court will strike down Nebraska's abortion ban, and ensure that America is not sent back to that time."


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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