Judge in California Also Blocks Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Nationwide
by Steven Ertelt
November 7, 2003
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) — A California federal judge late Thursday issued a second nationwide injunction against the ban on partial-birth abortions. His decision becomes the third to prevent the Bush administration from enforcing the ban.
As in the other two cases, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton of San Francisco ruled the law was likely unconstitutional because it fails to include a pro-abortion "health" exception.
Hamilton called the new law "an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose."
Judges in New York and Nebraska issued similar rulings.
The Nebraska injunction, in response to a lawsuit by partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart and others, prevents the law from being enforced in 13 states. The New York judge, responding to a suit filed by the National Abortion Federation, prevented the law from being enforced against NAF members, who perform nearly half of the abortions done annually nationwide.
Hamilton’s ruling applies to the more than 900 Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide, many of which perform abortions.
The Bush administration said it would "continue to strongly defend the law prohibiting partial birth abortions using every resource necessary.”
Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, said the rulings were "not surprising, but it is distressing."
"It means that partly born babies will continue to die at the point of 7-inch scissors," he said. "Certainly these judicial orders severely impede the government’s ability to protect these premature infants."
Should the judges issue permanent injunctions following hearings on the legislation, the Bush administration will appeal. There is little doubt on both sides that the lawsuits will eventually wind up in the Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court issued a 2000 decision striking down a Nebraska partial-birth abortion ban saying that lacked a health exception. Pro-life lawmakers included a lengthy findings section in the Congressional bill saying that medical research proves the abortion procedure is never necessary to protect the health of a mother.
Doctors who testified in Congress "uniformly agreed that a partial-birth abortion is never necessary to advance the health or life of women," the Bush administration said in its arguments.