Judge Doesn’t Strike Down Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Trial Moves Forward
by Steven Ertelt
March 18, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge on Wednesday decided against overturning the ban on partial-birth abortions, saying that a trial should move forward to determine the veracity of claims by abortion advocates that such abortions are necessary to protect women’s health.
The National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion businesses, filed one of the three lawsuits seeking to overturn the pro-life law. Judge Richard Casey’s order denied their request to overturn the law without a trial.
As a result of Casey’s decision, the trial that was previously planned for March 29 will proceed. Similar trials will occur in San Francisco and Omaha, where two other lawsuits were filed.
ACLU attorney Louise Melling told the Associated Press that her group was not discouraged by the ruling. She said her side would present evidence claiming the abortions are needed to protect the health of women, even though the abortions are mostly performed to healthy women and healthy babies.
Abortion advocates say the bill is unconstitutional because it doesn’t have a health exception. The Supreme Court overturned a Nebraska ban in 2000 saying it should have contained an exception.
Pro-life groups say such exceptions allow for virtually all partial-birth abortions to remain legal because any abortion can be declared to be one that is needed for health concerns.
Casey said Congress concluded that "partial-birth abortion is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman" and that the facts regarding women’s health and abortion need to be presented.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, agreed that the case should get a fair trial.
"The National Abortion Federation is challenging an act of Congress, so Judge Casey is insisting that they actually produce some evidence — instead of just waving their hands in the air while repeating unsupported claims," Johnson told LifeNews.com.