Federal Abortion Ban Blocked by Nebraska Judge Minutes After President Bush Signs it into Law

Judge Issues Restraining Order Protecting Plaintiffs in Nebraska

Today, a Nebraska federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the first-ever federal abortion ban from being enforced against the plaintiffs in the Nebraska lawsuit challenging the ban. Judge Richard G. Kopf's order allows the plaintiffs and the people with whom they "work, teach, supervise, or refer" to continue to perform safe abortion procedures without fear of prosecution. The order was issued minutes after President Bush signed the ban into law.

"Congress and the President ignored the Supreme Court and women's health in enacting this law. The Nebraska court's order will protect doctors from facing prison for providing their patients with the best medical care," said Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the case in Nebraska federal court last Friday in order to prevent the law from taking effect. The challenge was filed on behalf of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case striking down Nebraska's ban, and three other doctors in Iowa, New York and Virginia. The ban, which contains no health exception and outlaws the safest abortion procedures used as early as 12 weeks, is almost identical to a Nebraska ban struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court just three years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart - a case argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed its case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Lawyers on the case include Priscilla J. Smith of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Nebraska attorneys Jerry M. Hug and Alan G. Stoler.

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