Lawyer Makes Closing Argument in New York Partial-Birth Abortion Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawyer Makes Closing Argument in New York Partial-Birth Abortion Case

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 22, 2004

New York, NY ( — A lawyer arguing on behalf of abortion businesses asked a federal judge on Thursday to declare the partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional. Both sides are making their final arguments today in what is one of three lawsuits attempting to overturn the national ban on the gruesome abortion procedure.

A. Stephen Hut, Jr., arguing on behalf of the National Abortion Federation, a trade group of abortion businesses, told U.S. District Judge Richard Casey that Congress intentionally drafted the partial-birth law with vague language in hopes of banning as many abortions as possible.

Hut claimed the partial-birth abortion method is safer for women than other abortion procedures — even though it is a three-day long procedure that doctors groups have said are not beneficial to women.

Attorneys for the Justice Department, representing the Bush administration, will also make closing arguments today.

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, says that the government’s attorneys presented a compelling case for the law’s constitutionality.

"The Department of Justice presented a strong and compelling case in support of the ban on partial-birth abortion and that was underscored today at closing arguments," Sekulow said.

"In this case, the government was permitted to provide a full and complete record about why the ban is constitutional and why the horrific procedure is never medically necessary," Sekulow explained.

Judge Casey is expected to issue a decision sometime later this summer or early fall.

A federal judge in San Francisco already declared the ban unconstitutional and said it could not be enforced against San Francisco hospitals or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood, which filed that suit.

Another federal judge in Nebraska is considering a lawsuit filed by several partial-birth abortion practitioners, including LeRoy Carhart, who filed suit against a Nebraska ban that the Supreme Court eventually declared unconstitutional in 2000.

The decision in that case is expected later this summer.

"The taking of the life of a partially born child with this procedure is barbaric and should be off-limits to the medical community. We’re hopeful that the court will conclude that the ban is necessary and constitutional," Sekulow said.

However, Sekulow admitted the case will eventually find its way to the nation’s highest court. "This road leads to the Supreme Court," he said.

The ACLJ filed a brief in support of the Bush administration and the law. The brief was presented on behalf of 26 members of Congress.