Closing Arguments Begin in Carhart v. Ashcroft Federal Abortion Ban Trial in Nebraska

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WHAT: The closing oral arguments in Carhart v. Ashcroft, a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of four doctors challenging the constitutionality of the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003" signed into law by President Bush on November 5, 2003.

WHY: The Center for Reproductive Rights won a 2000 Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, striking down a Nebraska ban on so-called "partial-birth abortion," representing Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the lead plaintiff in this federal lawsuit. The Center's current lawsuit contends that the federal ban, like the Nebraska ban, is unconstitutional because it would ban abortions as early as 12-15 weeks in pregnancy, outlaw abortions that doctors say are safe and among the best for women's health, and contains no exception for the woman's health.

WHO: Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to promoting and defending women's reproductive rights: Nancy Northup, President; Priscilla Smith, Director of Domestic Legal Program, lead attorney in lawsuit.

Plaintiffs: The lawsuit is filed on behalf of: LeRoy Carhart, M.D., a physician licensed to practice in Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin; William G. Fitzhugh, M.D., a physician licensed to practice in Virginia; William H. Knorr, M.D., a physician licensed to practice medicine in New York, Alabama, South Carolina and Maryland; and Jill L. Vibhakar, M.D., a physician licensed to practice in Iowa.

Defendant: John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States

Judge: Honorable Richard Kopf

WHEN: Wednesday, June 2, 2004 at 9:00 AM (Central Time)

WHERE: 593 Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, Nebraska