Missouri Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Overturned by Federal Judge

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 10, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Overturned by Federal Judge

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 10, 2004

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — In a decision that surprises neither side of the abortion debate, a federal judge in Missouri has overturned the state’s ban on partial-birth abortions because it lacks an exception for cases to protect a woman’s health. This, despite doctors saying that such abortions are never medically necessary.

U.S. District Judge Scott Wright prohibited the state from enforcing the abortion ban, passed by the state legislature and enjoined since 1999.

Write said he based his ruling on the 2000 Carhart vs. Stenburg Supreme Court ruling that also said such abortion bans need a health exemption.

"This court must conclude the Missouri Infant’s Protection Act is unconstitutional because it ‘makes no exceptions for situations where the banned procedure is the most appropriate procedure to preserve the health of a pregnant woman,’" Wright wrote.

Wright has heard previous abortion lawsuits and has generally struck down pro-life laws passed by the Missouri General Assembly. However, federal courts — and even the Supreme Court — have overturned his decisions.

"Today’s ruling is a victory for women and women’s health," Paula Gianino, president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. "We are relieved and grateful that the court was able to see through this dangerous and deceptive bill."

But Patty Skain, director of Missouri Right to Life, told the St. Louis paper that the Missouri law is different than the one turned down by the Supreme Court. She encouraged Attorney General Jay Nixon to appeal Wright’s decision.

Nixon’s office says it is reviewing the opinion and hasn’t decided whether to appeal.