Pro-Lifers Denied Intervention
Special Report - December 28, 2011
On December 22, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles denied the request of a group of pro-life medical professionals, post-abortive women, and pregnancy counseling centers to “intervene as Defendants in a constitutional challenge to [North Carolina’s] Woman’s Right to Know Act.” The case, Stuart v. Huff, was brought in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in September by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood. The lawsuit argues that the Woman’s Right to Know (WRTK) Act is unconstitutional under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, claiming that it “violates the rights of due process, free speech, privacy, liberty, bodily integrity, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.” On November 8, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project filed a motion to intervene in the defense of the WRTK Act on behalf of a group of North Carolina physicians, post-abortive women, and pregnancy resource centers.
In her ruling last week, Judge Eagles recognized “the general interests of the proposed intervenors,” but ultimately denied their request to join the defense of the WRTK Act against the lawsuit “because those interests are adequately represented by existing Defendants and intervention would unnecessarily complicate the case and cause undue delay.”
Parties wishing to intervene and be added as defendants in a lawsuit must meet three conditions: 1) They “must prove an interest in the subject matter of the litigation;” 2) They “must show that the protection of their interests would be impaired because of the litigation;” and 3) They “must demonstrate that their interests are not being adequately represented by the existing Defendants.” Judge Eagles found in her decision that “the proposed intervenors clearly have not met the third element of the test.” The group of pro-life advocates had argued “that the [decision by the North Carolina Department of Justice, who is defending the law in the case] not to present evidence at a preliminary injunction hearing demonstrate[s] that their interests are not being adequately represented [and] that they would offer additional compelling state interests in support of the Act that the Defendants have not brought to the Court’s attention.” However, in her decision, Judge Eagles stated, “The Defendants have vigorously defended the constitutionality of the Act in their pleadings and in the courtroom. They are adequately and thoroughly representing the same interests the proposed intervenors have.” For this reason, she went on to “deny the proposed intervenors’ motion to intervene as a matter of right.”
Previously, Judge Eagles granted an injunction against enforcing the portion of the law that would require “physicians to show patients seeking abortions a real-time display of the fetus and to orally describe to the patients what could be seen on the display.” All other portions of the law, including requirements that women seeking an abortion be given the name of the physician performing the abortion; information about the physical and psychological risks associated with abortions; the probable gestational age of the child; information regarding the abortionist’s liability insurance and nearby hospital at which the abortionist has clinical privileges; and information about the social and financial resources available to the woman should she choose to carry her unborn child to term went into effect as scheduled on October 26.
More Defend Informed Consent Law - November 11, 2011
Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Temporarily Blocked - October 26, 2011
Informed Consent Law Challenged September 30, 2011
Senate Overrides Abortion Bill Veto - July 29, 2011
House Overrides Informed Consent Veto - July 27, 2011
Governor Vetoes Informed Consent - June 28, 2011
Standing for Life as Session Ends - June 18, 2011
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