ACLU and Planned Parenthood Vow Appeal After Court Rules Against Single-Subject Challenge

Affiliate: ACLU of Nebraska
August 11, 2023 7:38 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Nebraska
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

LINCOLN, Neb. – A state court decision issued today means Nebraska’s new restrictions on gender-related care for transgender youth and abortion access will remain law for now. The groups challenging the restrictions plan to appeal.

Today, Lancaster County District Court Judge Lori Maret granted a request by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office to reject a legal challenge to the state law brought by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and its medical director, Dr. Sarah Traxler. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Nebraska and Powers Law are litigating the case.

The lawsuit argues Nebraska state senators violated a state constitutional requirement that “no bill shall contain more than one subject” when they added an abortion ban after 12 weeks of pregnancy to a bill that restricted gender-related care for trans youth.

Today’s order sides with the attorney general’s argument that the two distinct bans are linked by a broad connection to health care. Although the order permits the ban on abortion to remain in place starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood continues to provide abortion care before that time at health centers in Nebraska.

Ruth Richardson, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, made this statement on today’s order:

“This decision is a devastating blow to Nebraskans’ fundamental right to make what should be private decisions between them and their doctors. This abortion ban disproportionately affects people in rural areas, people of color, people with low incomes, and young people, further widening already unacceptable health inequities,” Richardson said. “But, I want to be clear, this is not the end of this fight. We will appeal this decision and, in the meantime, continue to provide abortion before 12 weeks of pregnancy, as permitted by law. Nothing about this setback changes our commitment to standing up for the rights and health of all Nebraskans.

“While it’s infuriating that these restrictions will remain in place for now, Planned Parenthood stands together with Nebraskans, a majority of whom support keeping abortion safe and legal in our state. We will never stop fighting for the freedom, bodily autonomy and health of our communities. And we remain dedicated to helping our patients in Nebraska access the care they so desperately need, even if it means having to travel out of state.” 

Mindy Rush Chipman, ACLU of Nebraska executive director, made this statement on today’s order:

“We strongly disagree with the court’s conclusion,” Rush Chipman said. “State senators combined unrelated restrictions into a single bill in their rush to take away Nebraskans’ rights. That tactic violated the text of the Nebraska Constitution, which plainly says that ‘no bill shall contain more than one subject.’ As a result, Nebraskans are being seriously harmed. We still believe the courts have a vital role to play in remedying that violation of our state constitution and fulfilling the promise of the single-subject rule, which ensures that senators are accountable for their votes, and that each issue enacted into law rises or falls on its own merits. We will appeal, and we intend to continue doing all we can to protect the rule of law, abortion access, and the rights of trans youth and their families.”

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

The Latest in LGBTQ Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ issue image

The ACLU works to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association.