In this case, ACLU attorneys representing Dr. Warren Hern worked with attorneys representing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to challenge the Colorado Parental Notification Act, a ballot initiative approved by Colorado voters on November 3, 1998. It forbids physicians to provide abortions to a pregnant minor without first providing written notice to the minor’s parents and then waiting an additional 48 hours. Although the statute provides a narrow exception in cases where the minor faces “imminent death,” it does not provide an exception in cases when an immediate abortion is necessary to prevent serious damage to the minor’s health. The case was originally filed in state district court in Boulder, and the Defendants exercised their right to remove the case to federal court. In August, 2000, the federal district court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs and declared the statute unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood v. Owens, 107 F. Supp. 3d 1271 (D. Colo. 2000).  The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision on April 17, 2002.  Planned Parenthood v. Owens, 287 F.3d 910 (10th Cir. 2002).

ACLU news releases:

ACLU case number



Edward T. Ramey; Jen Dalven, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project; Keri Howe; Kevin C. Paul; Louise Melling, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project; Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director; Tim Atkeson;

Case number

99-WM-60, United States District Court, District of Colorado; No. 00-1385, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals