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Friday, June 27, 2008


NAF Communications Department

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Places Political Ideology over Science

Statement of Cathleen M. Mahoney, Executive Vice President of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Rounds:

Today's ruling is an unfortunate victory of political ideology over sound science.

This decision overturns a lower court order blocking enforcement of an amendment to South Dakota law that would require doctors to give women seeking abortion care a statement that contains inflammatory rhetoric based on ideology not facts.

In her dissent, Judge Diana Murphy accurately assesses that this amendment "imposes unprecedented restrictions on women seeking abortions and unprecedented demands on their physicians."

The politicians who supported and passed this legislation in 2005 are the same ones who tried to ban all abortions in South Dakota in 2006. NAF member Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, along with Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenged this law in federal district court on the grounds that the law violates the free speech rights of patients and physicians, and unduly burdens patients' rights to an abortion. The district court issued a preliminary injunction to prevent this law from taking effect based on constitutional grounds.

In agreement with the lower court rulings, Judge Murphy wrote, "the provisions of this Act go far beyond the informed consent laws which have been upheld by the Supreme Court and the courts of appeal against constitutional challenges."

Abortion providers already supply women with the accurate medical information they need to make fully informed decisions about an unwanted pregnancy. The professional judgment, expertise, and experience of physicians who provide abortion care should not be trumped by the personal agendas and ideologies of politicians.


The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org.

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