Members of Congress Ask Appeals Court to Uphold Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

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

Members of Congress Ask Appeals Court to Uphold Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 9, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life law firm on Thursday filed an amicus brief on behalf of members of Congress asking a federal appeals court to uphold a national ban on the partial-birth abortion procedure. President Bush signed the ban into law and it has been held up in court ever since.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, filed the brief for members of Congress.

It’s asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to overturn a decision made by a Nebraska federal judge declaring the ban unconstitutional because it doesn’t have a health exception.

"We are supporting the Department of Justice in arguing that Congress not only acted properly in passing the ban, but that such a ban is needed to ensure that partially born children receive the same constitutional rights afforded to all persons," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.

The ACLJ is representing itself and 26 members of Congress.

The brief makes the same arguments that Congress did when it included a long findings section in the bill, namely that there is never a need for a three day long partial-birth abortion procedure in an emergency health situation.

The brief contends that the government has a "vital and compelling interest" in banning the gruesome abortion procedure.

"Partial-birth procedures represent the beachhead of abortion’s assault on postnatal life, the bridge between abortion and infanticide," the brief states.

The Nebraska judge is one of three federal judges who declared the ban invalid. Judges in New York and California, responding to two other lawsuits filed by abortion advocates, also overruled the ban.

The ACLJ will file amicus briefs in support of the ban in the two other cases now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed its brief in the appeal of a Nebraska judge’s decision.

The Bush administration said "partial-birth abortion is neither necessary to preserve the health of women nor safer than other readily available methods of abortion."

Meanwhile, the Congressional brief explains that, "Absent strong legal barriers and vigorous societal condemnation, partial-birth procedures open the way to legal infanticide."

"What matters most to this specific defense is the protection of all children who, while still alive and therefore capable of being protected, break the plane that currently marks the dividing line between non-personhood and personhood, between abortion and infanticide," the brief adds.

The partial-birth abortion procedure was developed by Ohio abortion practitioner Martin Haskell, who admits that he performs it on mostly health women and health babies.

American Center for Law and Justice –
Congressional brief – Amicus_Brief.pdf