by Steven Ertelt
November 30, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Justice Department, on Monday, filed its brief in the appeal of a Nebraska judge’s decision overturning the federal ban on partial-birth abortions. The case is one of three lawsuits filed by abortion practitioners and abortion advocacy groups challenging the ban.
Saying "partial-birth abortion is neither necessary to preserve the health of women nor safer than other readily available methods of abortion," the Bush administration is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to reverse the decision of U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf.
In September, Kopf ruled the ban unconstitutional because it did not contain a disputed health exception.
Kopf said that the ban fell outside of a 2000 Supreme Court decision requiring legislation preventing the gruesome procedure to have a health exception — even though many doctors groups say women would never need a three-day long abortion procedure in an emergency situation.
According to the brief, the American Medical Association convened a panel to study the issue of partial-birth abortions.
The expert panel “could not find ‘any’ identified circumstance” where partial-birth abortion “was ‘the only appropriate alternative’” to preserve the health of the mother."
The Justice Department also points to Congressional findings indicating that partial-birth abortions may pose health risks for women. Such risks include cervical incompetence, trauma to the uterus, and lacerations or hemorrhaging.
The brief requests that the Eighth Circuit appeals court allow each side to present oral arguments.
Judge Kopf, who previously overturned a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortions that led to the Supreme Court’s 2000 Carhart vs. Stenberg decision, was the third federal judge to halt the ban.
Federal judges in California and New York previously overruled the law and put in place injunctions against its enforcement. Those opinions have also been appealed.
President Bush signed the ban on partial-birth abortions last year.
The legislation enjoys the support of anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the public, depending on the poll.