Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is filing a lawsuit challenging a new Nebraska law requiring mental health screenings for women seeking abortions. The group filed suit Monday, hoping to stop the law from going into effect next month.
The law requires women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. Those women also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion.
The original sponsor of the measure, Senator Cap Dierks of Ewing, says it’s not an extreme law. Senator Dierks calls the legislation “reasonable” as it works to cover all of the possibilities for a patient, just like is done before any elective surgery.
Dierks says the bill expands the amount of information and help being offered to women — and to their doctors. He says doctors’ rights aren’t violated by the measure. Under the new law, he says physicians are given new protections and that patients are told everything they need to know prior to surgery.
Planned Parenthood, which runs one of Nebraska’s two clinics that offer abortions, is critical of the measure, saying it could be difficult to comply with and could give women irrelevant information. Dierks says he expected a legal challenge when he introduced the bill.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton