Judge Will Make August Decision on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
by Steven Ertelt
June 3, 2004
Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge who is hearing the second of three lawsuits filed by abortion advocates against the federal ban on parital-birth abortion intends to make a final decision in August. However, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf may likely find it unconstitutional.
Attorneys for the Justice Department and a pro-abortion law firm representing four partial-birth abortion practitioners presented closing arguments on Wednesday.
Kopf said he would issue a decision in the case by the end of August.
Kopf told Justice Department attorney Anthony Coppolino that the Bush administration would have a difficult time enforcing the law because he claims it is too vague and could be construed as banning more than one type of abortion.
"How are you ever going to prove that," Kopf asked, according to an Associated Press report.
"Does the doctor have to give a deposition beforehand so that he can be prosecuted? Why would you enact a law … that is unenforceable," Kopf asked Coppolino.
But Coppolino told Kopf that the law specifically addresses only one type of abortion procedure and involves cases where a parital-birth abortion is intended.
A doctor treating a pregnant woman during the normal course of pregnancy wouldn’t perform a three-day-long partial-birth abortion unless the intent was to end the baby’s life, pro-life groups say.
Judge Kopf is expected to strike down the abortion ban.
"It seems to me the law is highly suspect, if not a per se violation of the constitution," Kopf said in November when he issued a temporary injunction against the law prior to it taking effect.
Kopf agreed with a previous Supreme Court decision and said the law should have included a health exception.
Pro-life groups say a health exception is unnecessary and would make the ban useless as any reason can be given to justify a partial-birth abortion as necessary to protect a mother’s health.
"While it is also true that Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise," Kopf said.
Kopf also said the bill did not present "an objective" presentation of the facts and had a "serious vagueness problem."
Meanwhile, Kopf criticized those who have blame him and other judges from being judicial activists by overturning partial-birth abortion bans in most instances.
"It is stupid and superficial," Kopf said, according to an Associated Press report.
Kopf said he doesn’t know of any judge’s that use their personal views to decide a case this important.
"[I don’t think] one unelected judge, from the hinterlands to boot, ought to veto what Congress does just because he or she doesn’t like it," Kopf said. "I’ve never seen a judge like that."