Bush Administration Seeks to Speed Up Partial-Birth Abortion Lawsuits

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bush Administration Seeks to Speed Up Partial-Birth Abortion Lawsuits

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 11, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Bush administration on Monday put forward a proposal it hopes will move the legal process along faster concerning the pro-abortion lawsuits against the partial-birth abortion. The lawsuits have resulted in temporary injunctions.

The proposal would call for the Bush administration to delay enforcement of the ban for 120 days if the courts would speed up the legal process.

The request was initially made to U.S. District Judge Richard Casey of New York, who issued an injunction blocking the ban from taking effect almost nationwide. Bush administration attorneys will present the same proposal on Wednesday to judges in Nebraska and California who also blocked the ban.

Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life said the proposal was made to "expedite" the legal process by asking the judge to consolidate two usually separate steps — a hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction against the law and a full trial on the factual merits of the case.

"If the judge grants the government’s request, it would result in a trial in four months — far faster than the year or more that would be common under non-expedited procedures," Johnson explained.

"We commend the Bush Administration for pushing for expedited judicial review, in order to allow the ban on the brutal partial-birth abortion method to take effect as soon as possible," Johnson added.

The main point of division in the legal proceedings thus far has been whether or not partial-birth abortions are ever medically necessary to protect the health of a mother.

Pro-life Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), the author of the ban in the House said numerous doctors have testified that a partial-birth abortion is never something considered to protect a mother’s health.

"Partial-birth abortion is dangerous to women and never necessary to protect their health," Chabot explained. "Most in the mainstream medical community view partial-birth abortion as an experimental procedure."

"Partial-birth abortion seriously jeopardizes a woman’s health and her future ability to carry a pregnancy to term," pro-life Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) added.

Pro-life lawmakers included a lengthy findings section meant to counter health exception arguments. The research includes testimony from doctors that the three-day-long partial-birth abortion procedure, where an unborn child’s head is crushed, would never be an option any doctor would consider to help a mother in a difficult pregnancy.

The judges appeared to lean against accepting the findings on face value.

However, Bush administration asked the New York judge on Monday for "an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Congress’ findings are reasonable.”

"The parties are in fundamental disagreement as to the medical necessity of partial-birth abortion and … this issue is one of medical evidence, not merely of law,” President Bush’s lawyers wrote.

They indicated they would provide significant medical testimony from doctors during the hearings that would back up the Congressional findings.

Abortion advocates will provide their own doctors claiming partial-birth abortions must be an allowed option.

Temporary restraining orders normally stay in effect from 10 days to three weeks until a complete hearing is held and a judge can make a more permanent decision as to whether to enjoin the law.

"Every day that passes is another day that premature infants, mostly in the fifth and sixth months, will be mostly delivered alive before being painfully killed by the puncturing of their skulls and the removal of their brains," Johnson concluded.