NC legislators ask court to dismiss case challenging laws protecting women
ADF attorneys represent House speaker, Senate president in lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood
North Carolina-based abortion providers and a national pro-abortion advocacy group are challenging the state’s prohibition on telemedicine abortions, a 72-hour informed-consent period, facility safety codes, the requirement that facilities provide patients with informed-consent information, and a law ensuring that an abortion only be performed by a licensed physician.
“Every woman deserves to have all the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle. “Tragically, many women turn to abortion as a last resort, unaware of the resources available to them. No one benefits more from this situation than abortionists and their facilities. Because the regulations at issue protect women from the very people who are suing against these laws, they can never fully or adequately advocate for those women, and therefore they do not have legal standing to sue.”
The state laws aim to ensure that women undergo serious procedures only when they are well aware of the risks and alternatives. As the motion to dismiss explains, “Informing women of the gestational age of their unborn child, offering a description of baby’s development, and providing information on public assistance for the alternative choice of continuing pregnancy all advance these legitimate objectives.” The challenged laws also provide commonsense protections that are commonplace for medical procedures, ensuring patients’ basic safety and welfare.
Planned Parenthood recently dropped a similar case in Arizona that challenged several laws protecting women in that state.
In an ADF case, NIFLA v. Becerra, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in 2018 that states can freely enact laws ensuring informed consent to abortion by requiring doctors to give truthful, relevant information to women.
Nathan Huff and Jared Burtner of Phelps Dunbar LLP are serving as local counsel on behalf of the legislators in Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Moore, pending in Wake County Superior Court.
- Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)
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Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is the director of the Center for Life. 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.