NRL News

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will re-file case in state court after federal judge rejects settlement

by | Feb 11, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb

How does that saying go again? Never assume because….

Last week NRL News Today reported on a series of “stipulations” which Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the state Department of Justice reached on the 2012 “Coercive and Web Cam Abortion Prevention Act.” I included a throwaway line that “U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb must approve the agreement.”

Guess what? She didn’t. Planned Parenthood immediately announced it was re-filing its case in state court. Commonsense would suggest that the state court would either rather quickly accept the agreement or have the parties answer some of the objections Judge Crabb raised in her 13-page opinion.

As we reported, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s core argument was the act  (Act 217) was unconstitutionally “vague.” To understand their argument, you must recall that “chemical” abortions take place in two stages. The first drug kills the baby, the second (a prostaglandin) stimulates contractions to expel the baby’s remains.

The Wisconsin law requires that the abortionist  gives the woman the prescription for the abortifacient. It is this safeguard for the mother that so-called “web cam” abortions  [which they insist on falsely describing as a part of “telemedicine”] omit.  The abortionist who could be hundreds of miles away from the mother, dispenses the powerful abortifacient via video conference, making a mockery of the legitimate use of telemedicine.

The stipulations agreed to include that the abortionist must be there in person to give the woman a prescription for the abortifacient. The agreement also included that the abortionist makes a good faith effort to determine that her decision to abort is voluntary, not coerced.

Judge Crabb seemed puzzled. I’m no lawyer but her decision seems to derive from these two conclusions,

First, that the settlement adopts an “odd approach.” She cites the stipulation’s agreement that it “resolve[s]” the “Plaintiffs’ federal constitutional challenges.”

This prompts Judge Crabb to write, “In this case, the parties are asking the court expressly  to avoid the federal questions and instead adopt a particular construction of  state statute.” She notes, “Although issuing the proposed judgment might ‘resolve’ this lawsuit, it does not resolve the actual dispute identified in the complaint, which is whether the statutes are unconstitutionally vague.” Kind of “so what am I doing here?” response.

Second, and perhaps more important, Crabb also observes that “by stipulating that the proposed interpretations are reasonable, plaintiffs seem to be conceding that the statutes are constitutional and that they have no federal claim.”

Crabb adds that while Planned Parenthood stated they are not conceding that the challenged provisions are constitutional, “Plaintiffs have not explained how  they can reconcile that position with their stipulation.”

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Categories: Webcam abortion