Three Pro-Life Groups File Legal Briefs in Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Three Pro-Life Groups File Legal Briefs in Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 23, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Three more pro-life law firms have filed briefs in the upcoming Supreme Court case on the national ban on partial-birth abortions. They include the National Right to Life Committee, the Thomas More pro-life law firm, and a group organized by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

National Right to Life, through its Horatio Storer Foundation, filed a brief with the nation’s top court arguing that the federal partial-birth abortion ban should be upheld on behalf of a compelling interest in protection of human fetal life recognized by Congress.

The brief argues that, contrary to older bans the high court already considered, the 2003 federal ban applies only after the unborn baby’s head or her body up to her navel, has emerged from the mother’s womb. Congress, in the ban, said the unborn child has a right to life at that point that trumps any abortion rights.

“A fully born fetus is a child and person under the Constitution, so the people obviously have a right to protect a fetus that is halfway there," NRLC attorney Jim Bopp told in a statement.

"It makes no sense to claim there is a constitutional right to deliberately kill a child who is already halfway outside the mother’s body and a few steps away from a crib," Bopp added. "And it makes no sense to claim that purposing delivering children halfway out of mom somehow necessary for maternal health.”

Meanwhile, the Thomas More Law Center submitted an amicus brief as well.

“Partial-birth abortion is nothing other than infanticide, and this barbaric procedure must be stopped," TMC president Richard Thompson said.

The TMC brief goes further than others in asking the high court not only to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban but to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.

"We also request that the Supreme Court take this opportunity to reconsider and reject its ‘abortion rights’ decisions, such as Roe v. Wade," TMC trial counsel Edward White said in a statement provided to "The time has come for the Supreme Court to stop the grave injustices that have resulted from those decisions.”

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his Foundation for Moral Law also filed a brief with the high court and said the court wrongly determined that there is a right to abortion.

He argues the protection clause of the 14th Amendment gives Congress the authority to ban partial-birth abortions.

The Supreme Court has addressed the issue of partial-birth abortion before when it rejected a Nebraska ban on the grisly abortion procedure on a narrow 5-4 ruling. It said the ban was unconstitutional because it lacked a health exception — even though the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a woman’s health.

After Congress approved the federal version of the ban, abortion businesses and practitioners took it to court in three separate cases.

The various briefs ask the high court to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit which declared the ban unconstitutional. Two other appeals courts declared it unconstitutional as well because of the health exception issue.

The appeals court cited the Nebraska ruling in its decision, but Congress inserted an extensive findings section explaining that the 2000 ruling was wrong because health exceptions are unnecessary.

Oral arguments are expected in the case during the next term of the Supreme Court, which begins in October.

The outcome of the case will likely be determined by the Supreme Court’s two new justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is expected to vote to uphold the ban, replaced former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who voted for the Nebraska ban in 2000.

Justice Samuel Alito is also expected to uphold the ban and he replaced retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the deciding vote and the justice who wrote the opinion in the Nebraska case. Alito’s vote would swing the court 5-4 in favor of upholding the partial-birth abortion ban.

The case is Gonzales v. Carhart, No. 05-380.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –
Thomas More Law Center –
Foundation for Moral Law –