New York Judge Blocks Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Judge Blocks Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Nationwide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6, 2003

Washington, DC ( — A New York judge issued an injunction blocking the ban from taking effect nationwide. His decision comes one day after a Nebraska judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the partial-birth abortion ban from being enforced in 13 states.

U.S. District Judge Richard Casey heard a lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation on Wednesday and on Thursday decided to prevent Attorney General John Ashcroft from enforcing the ban.

Like the ruling in Nebraska, it applies only to the plaintiffs. However, members of NAF, a coalition of independent abortion facilities, perform half of the abortions nationwide.

Casey claimed the medical community is conflicted about whether partial-birth abortions are needed to protect a woman’s health — an exception he said is not in the bill but was required by the Supreme Court in a 2000 decision striking down a Nebraska ban.

"Given the (government’s) position, the court is constrained, at this time, to conclude that it is substantially likely that plaintiffs will succeed on the merits," Casey wrote in his decision.

NAF’s president Vicki Saporta applauded the decision saying, "Thankfully, the court understood the gravity of the situation and stopped this law from taking effect."

During the hearing, assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Gowan argued on behalf of the Bush administration. She urged Casey to defer to the Congressional findings including extensive medical information indicating partial-birth abortions are never medically necessary.

In advance of Bush’s signature on the bill, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the National Abortion Federation, a federation of independent abortion businesses across the country.

A judge in San Francisco has scheduled a hearing for a third lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban, but a date has not been announced.

"This law will ultimately be reviewed by the Supreme Court, where five justices in 2000 said Roe v. Wade guarantees the right to perform partial-birth abortions at will," Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee said. "We can only hope that by the time this law reaches the Supreme Court, there will be at least a one-vote shift away from that extreme and inhumane position."

Bush signed the ban into law on Thursday.

"For years a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way,” Bush told a crowd of 400 pro-life lawmakers and activists. "Today at last the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.”

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