By Dave Andrusko
After a hearing on Wednesday, Lancaster County District Judge Lori Maret said she would issue a written ruling later on a request by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to place a preliminary injunction on Legislative Bill 574. Judge Maret did not say when her decision could be expected.
Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland argued that when the “Preborn Child Protection Act”– Amendment 1568—was attached to the “Let Them Grow Act” –LB 574– on May 16, it violated the Nebraska Constitution’s requirement that legislation be confined to a single subject.
That means for now most Nebraska preborn babies at 12 weeks gestation and beyond, will be protected with the exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother.
Signed into law by Governor Jim Pillen on May 22, it was immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and ACLU of Nebraska. They requested that a preliminary injunction be placed on the “Let Them Grow Act” and the accompanying 12-week abortion protection.
“We are pleased that Judge Maret will allow the law to remain in effect while she considers its legality.” said Sandy Danek, Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life. “We believe both aspects of the law address the single subject of protecting and preserving the dignity of vulnerable children.”
The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office maintains that LB 574 “firmly withstands” questions about its constitutionality because the two matters both deal with public health and welfare.
“Plaintiffs (Planned Parenthood) rely on case law that is often inapplicable, distinguishable, or plainly stands against its proffered outcome,” wrote the Attorney General’s office. According to reporter Paul Hammel, Attorney General Erik Fernit’s brief maintains it is “irrelevant how LB 574 got passed and that the court needs only to consider ‘the end result.’”
On Wednesday, Fern added that there’s a “strong presumption” that any legislation passed by the State Legislature is both “legal and enforceable” and for the judge to interject herself into the case of LB 547 goes “into the internal process of how the Nebraska Unicameral has decided it will conduct its business.”
He added that the harm to the unborn and minor children that the bill tries to address outweighs any “economic” harm done to Planned Parenthood.