by Steven Ertelt
February 12, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Bush administration on Friday filed another brief defending the federal ban on partial-birth abortions. The brief comes in an appeal of a Nebraska judge’s decision overturning the ban in one of three lawsuits filed against it by abortion advocates.
The brief is part of an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a September ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf saying the ban was too vague and would prohibit other types of abortions.
The Nebraska brief argues that the ban does not place an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions in general.
"Properly construed, the act narrowly and precisely defines the proscribed partial-birth procedure, without impermissibly encompassing alternative abortion procedures such as dilation and evacuation or induction," the Justice Department wrote.
The partial-birth abortion ban prohibits "one particular method of abortion that Congress, after nine years of hearings, found to be gruesome, inhumane, never necessary to preserve the health of women, and less safe than other readily available abortion methods," according to the brief.
Judge Kopf also overturned the law by claiming that it was unconstitutional because it did not contain an exception allowing the controversial abortion procedure to protect the health of the mother.
However, doctors say that the three-day-long abortion procedure is never necessary in emergency health situations.
The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that such abortion bans must have a health exception, and Congress reworked the ban to include a lengthy findings section with medical and legal evidence showing it’s not necessary.
In the brief, the Bush administration says the courts have routinely deferred to Congressional findings on important legal matters.
"The Supreme Court repeatedly has deferred to congressional findings supported by substantial evidence even after a district court has conducted a trial on the merits, rendered its own putative findings, and invalidated the statute at issue," the brief noted.
The Nebraska lawsuit was filed by partial-birth abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart of Omaha, who was the plaintiff in the 2000 Supreme Court decision overturning a state partial-birth abortion ban.