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Bryant v. Woodall

Description:  Several abortionists and Planned Parenthood are challenging a North Carolina law that protects life after 20 weeks gestation.

North Carolina General Assembly building
Thursday, Aug 18, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal district court Wednesday lifted an injunction that prevented enforcement of North Carolina’s pro-life law protecting the lives of unborn children after 20 weeks gestation. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger argued for that result in a friend-of-the-court brief they filed July 27.

“North Carolina can now protect more lives and provide real support to more women facing unplanned pregnancies,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “At 20 weeks, a baby can move and kick, feel pain, and even has her own unique fingerprints. We’re pleased the court swiftly restored justice to innocent, unborn children by allowing North Carolina’s pro-life law to be properly enforced.”

In 2019, under the mandates of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court issued an injunction to halt enforcement of the state’s law. The brief ADF attorneys filed argued that there is no legal basis for the injunction to remain in place. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state should be able to enforce its law and work to protect the lives of pregnant mothers and their unborn children.

The court’s order in Bryant v. Woodall explains that “leaving the injunction in place wrongfully heightens confusion because to do so is misleading as to the effect of Dobbs. If, as Plaintiffs argue, [abortion] providers are providing services in accordance with the terms of the injunction…, then those providers are acting contrary to North Carolina law. Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court.”

Anthony Biller, one of more than 4,400 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, is serving as local counsel for North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.

ADF attorneys representing Moore and Berger are defending other North Carolina pro-life laws in a separate case, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Moore.

  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel on the Center for Life Team at Alliance Defending Freedom. Prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General, where she drafted appellate briefs and presented oral arguments on behalf of the state in a wide variety of constitutional cases, including defending the constitutionality of pro-life laws. In 2017, she participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. She clerked for Justice Ricky L. Polston on the Florida Supreme Court and worked for several years as an appellate litigator at a large firm in California. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University, a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. At Duke, she served as the executive editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.