by Steven Ertelt
November 28, 2005
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court’s decision striking down Missouri’s ban on partial-birth abortions. A lower court cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision saying such bans should have a health exception, even though the three-day long abortion procedure is never needed to protect a woman’s health.
A federal judge prohibited state officials from enforcing the partial-birth abortion ban just one day after the state legislature approved it in 1999, overriding a gubernatorial veto.
Following years of legal battles, U.S. District Judge Scott Wright declared the measure unconstitutional in 2004 saying the Supreme Court in 2000 ruled all such bans need a health exception. Pro-life groups oppose such exceptions because they render all such abortions legal.
According to an Associated Press report, the appeals court panel of judges said Missouri failed to show that anything has changed since the Supreme Court’s ruling that should make it rule differently than Judge Wright did.
But, in a Justice Department brief in the current legal dispute over the national ban on partial-birth abortions, it cites an American Medical Association convened 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.
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.
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.