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ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Announce New Court Order Suspending Enforcement of Colorado Parental Notice Statute Throughout Colorado

ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Announce New Court Order Suspending Enforcement of Colorado Parental Notice Statute Throughout Colorado

February 4, 1999

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains announced today that a federal district court judge signed an order assuring that the Colorado Parental Notice Statute will not be enforced anywhere in the state until a final judgment on the merits is issued in the challenge to the law that is currently pending in United States District Court in Denver.

The state-wide effect of today’s order ends a period of uncertainty that began on December 23, 1998, the day after the case was filed, when the first judge to hear the case entered a temporary restraining order that barred enforcement of the statute only in Boulder.

The litigation, on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Colorado, was filed in state district court in Boulder on December 22, 1998. The original defendants included the Governor and Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter. In the hearing on December 23, Boulder district court Judge Morris Sanstead temporarily enjoined enforcement of the statute, but the order’s effect was limited to Boulder.

After the defendants invoked their federal-law right to remove the case to federal court, the case landed in the chambers of Judge Walker Miller. At a hearing on January 19, 1999, Judge Miller renewed the order prohibiting Boulder District Attorney Hunter from enforcing the statute. But because the remaining 21 district attorneys were not parties to the lawsuit, he declined to enter an order with state-wide effect.

The Plaintiffs amended their complaint the next day and served it on the remaining 21 district attorneys. Since every district attorney in Colorado is now a defendant in the lawsuit, all are bound by today’s order.

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